December 2000 Tuscaloosa tornado
|Duration||December 16, 2000|
|Max rating1||F4 tornado|
|Duration of tornado outbreak2||13 hours|
|Damage||$ 35 million|
|Casualties||12 fatalities, 186 injuries|
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale2Time from first tornado to last tornado
The December 2000 Tuscaloosa tornado was a destructive tornado that hit communities south and east of Tuscaloosa, Alabama on December 16, 2000. The F4 rated tornado caused the deaths of 11 people while injuring over 125 others. It was the strongest tornado to hit the state of Alabama in the month of December since 1950 and the strongest of a moderate tornado outbreak that took place across the Southeastern corner of the United States from Mississippi to North Carolina.
The tornado touched down just before 1:00 p.m. CDT near the Black Warrior River in southern Tuscaloosa County and proceeded northeastward for 18 miles (28.8 km) across the communities of Englewood, Hinton Place, Hillcrest Meadows, Bear Creek and Woodland Forest. A tornado emergency was issued for the area before it lifted near Cottondale east of Tuscaloosa near Interstate 20. At its peak intensity, the tornado was about 750 yards wide. The worst damage was located near the Bear Creek and Hillcrest Meadows areas where F4 damage occurred and homes were completely leveled. Near I-20, several commercial buildings including hotels and restaurants were heavily damaged and a shopping center near Route 69 was also hit and partially destroyed. Damage was estimated at over $12 million (12 000 000 dollars). Over 40 houses and 70 mobile homes were completely destroyed, with hundreds more seriously damaged.
It was one of the deadliest tornadoes to hit the state since the Birmingham F5 tornado that killed 32 people across portions of northwestern Jefferson County on April 8, 1998. That tornado started just northeast of Tuscaloosa during the evening hours, demolishing numerous structures south and west of the Birmingham metro area. Since records have been kept in 1950, the Tuscaloosa tornado is the second deadliest tornado in December, tied with an F4 tornado near Murphysboro, Illinois in an outbreak on December 18, 1957, that included an F5 storm, and behind the Vicksburg, Mississippi F5 tornado on December 5, 1953 which killed 38.
The 2000 Tuscaloosa tornado was part of a supercell thunderstorm that developed across Mississippi before traveling through western Alabama, then near the Birmingham region before dropping more tornadoes in St. Clair and Etowah counties. Additional tornadoes were confirmed northwest of Birmingham and Jasper.
Tower Cam tornado footage
|All deaths were tornado-related|
The tornado was also captured live on the ABC affiliate WBMA/WCFT/WJSU (channels 58, 33 and 40, generally called "ABC 33/40") in Birmingham during a special severe weather bulletin with meteorologists James Spann, Mark Prater, and John Oldshue. The tornado was caught by the station's tower cam located just outside downtown Tuscaloosa along Interstate 20/59 at Woodland Road on U.S. Highway 82. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave Spann an Emmy Award for the event. The tornado was followed from Englewood to just near its passage south of downtown Tuscaloosa when the reception was lost due to a torrential downpour.
Additional tornadoes were reported during the day across the southeastern portion of the US, including in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. A total of 24 tornadoes were reported on December 16, 2000. One more person was killed by a tornado in Geneva County in southeastern Alabama.
December 16, 2000
|F#||Location||County||Time (EDT)||Path length||Damage|
|F2||Geneva||Geneva||1034||4.5 miles (7.2 km)||1 death - 100 homes were damaged and 5 mobile homes were destroyed in and around Geneva. Many trees were downed and 15 vehicles were damaged or destroyed as well. Fatality occurred when a woman was thrown 75 yards from her destroyed mobile home.|
|F2||N of Midland||Houston, Dale, Henry||1100||29 miles (46.4 km)||Several homes in Doe Run subdivision in Pinckard were destroyed. Several other homes and businesses were damaged to varying degrees as well as one church.|
|F1||NW of Wheeler Lake||Lawrence, Limestone||1225||5.1 miles (8.2 km)||Several outbuildings and boat houses were destroyed, while three homes were damaged.|
|F2||NW of Athens||Limestone||1238||4.8 miles (7.7 km)||Three mobile homes were destroyed and several frame homes were heavily damaged.|
|F4||S of Tuscaloosa||Tuscaloosa||1254||18 miles (28.8 km)||11 deaths - Seen live on WCFT-TV, tower camera. See this section|
|F0||SE of Marion||Perry||1329||0.7 mile (1.1 km)||Damage was limited to trees.|
|F2||S of Ashville||St. Clair||1420||8.5 miles (13.6 km)||Two mobile homes were destroyed and four frame homes were damaged.|
|F3||NE of Gadsden||Etowah, Cherokee||1446||12.8 miles (20.5 km)||Major damage occurred in the Coats Bend area. 250 homes were damaged or destroyed and 14 people were injured.|
|F0||S of Bynum||Calhoun||1517||0.3 mile (0.5 km)||Brief tornado with no damage.|
|F0||SW of Deatsville||Autauga||1655||0.2 mile (0.32 km)||Brief tornado with no damage.|
|F0||S of Tallassee||Macon||1746||0.7 mile (1.1 km)||Two outbuildings and two satellite dishes were destroyed while three homes sustained minor damage.|
|F0||N of Roanoke||Randolph||1819||1 mile (1.6 km)||Damage was limited to trees.|
|F2||NE of Meridian||Lauderdale||1130||12 miles (19.2 km)||Two homes, three businesses, and three mobile homes were destroyed while 44 homes, 34 mobile homes, and one business were also damaged. 17 injuries were reported, including one critical.|
|F0||NE of Freeport||Walton||1255||0.2 mile (0.32 km)||Damage was limited to trees.|
|F2||SE of Bonifay||Holmes||1324||3 miles (4.8 km)||Four mobile homes were destroyed while 4 businesses and 39 homes were damaged.|
|F1||SW of Campbellton||Jackson||1350||5 miles (8 km)||Damage to trees, carports, and mobile homes.|
|F1||NE of Ardmore||Lincoln||1308||1.5 miles (2.4 km)||One outbuilding was destroyed, one mobile home was heavily damaged, and the roof of a cinder block garage was turned about 90 degrees.|
|F2||N of Albany||Dougherty||1550||6 miles (9.6 km)||Abigail Plantation was heavily affected with several structures damaged while a few homes were also damaged. Storage buildings at a trailer park were also damaged.|
|F2||SE of Americus||Sumter||2030||10 miles (16 km)||A frame house, three barns, several chicken houses and five outbuildings were destroyed. 400 chickens and two cattle were killed. One camper trailer was overturned and one home was damaged.|
|F2||S of Augusta||Richmond||2310||2 miles (3.2 km)||8 people were injured as the tornado did extensive damage to a subdivision south of Augusta.|
|F0||NW of Calhoun Falls||Abbeville||2110||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||A satellite dish was torn off a house.|
|F0||W of Spring Lake||Cumberland||2300||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||Brief tornado with no damage.|
|F0||SW of Lillington||Harnett||2310||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||Some buildings had windows blown off.|
|F0||N of Coats||Harnett||2315||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||Damage was limited to trees and smashed car windows.|
|Sources: Storm Data, December 16, 2000 (Tornado History Project)|
- NCDC Storm Events Database Archived April 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed May 7, 2008.
- NCDC: Event Details
- Tornado History Project December tornadoes 1950-2009