Beginning just a few miles north of Birmingham near Tarrant, the tornado proceeded north through northern Jefferson County producing F5 damage in Smithfield, northeast of Ensley. The tornado, which was at times 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) wide, was blamed for 22 deaths, more than 125 injuries, and $25 million in damage. Hundreds of homes were completely destroyed, many of which were completely swept away, despite being well-built. Some of the homes built into hillsides even had their cinder-block basement walls swept away. Many trees in the area were snapped and debarked and vehicles were thrown and destroyed. Two dump-trucks were thrown through the air near I-65 as well. Daniel Payne College suffered extensive damage, forcing it to permanently close due to the extent of the destruction. Dr. Ted Fujita followed the tornado and supercell from an airplane and while surveying damage he rated the Smithfield tornado an F5.
The F5 tornado touched down near the end of the path of three other violent tornadoes that struck the Birmingham region in 1956, 1998, and 2011. The 1956 tornado was an F4 that struck McDonald Chapel, before continuing through Edgewater, northern Birmingham, Fultondale, and Tarrant before dissipating, killing 25. In 1998, an F5 tornado touched town in a rural area near Tuscaloosa before tearing through Rock Creek, Sylvan Springs, Edgewater and McDonald Chapel, killing 32. The 2011 tornado was an EF4 that devastated Tuscaloosa before impacting Concord, Pleasant Grove, McDonald Chapel, northern Birmingham, and Fultondale before lifting, killing 64 people.
1 death - Major damage in the Lindale area. 12 trailers were destroyed and nine others were damaged. Four frame homes were destroyed and 20 others were badly damaged. Three farms sustained major damage, and four others sustained lesser damage. 15 people were injured.