SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A tornado that passed through Shelby County early Thursday morning has been upgraded from an EF-1 to an EF-2.
According to the National Weather Service in Birmingham, the tornado was upgraded to an EF-2, with winds peaking at 120 miles per hour.
Extensive tree damage along the Cahaba River, along with RADAR data, factored into the NWS’ decision to upgrade the tornado. The tornado snapped or uprooted thousands of soft and hardwood trees just south and east of Shelby County Road 1 in the mainly uninhabited area of Ward Creek. It traveled along the river, eventually weakening to an EF-0, continuing to uproot and damage trees. The tornado dissipated just southeast of the Helena amphitheater.
“Very lucky that this track wasn’t 5-6 miles east or it would have hit higher population areas from Alabaster into Pelham. It’s a reminder to always be ready when severe weather is in the forecast & have a plan ahead of time,” the NWS in Birmingham posted on Twitter.