Maplesville tornado rated EF-2

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The tornado that raked across Maplesville and along Alabama 22 into Clanton and Lomax brought 130-mile per hour winds.

The National Weather Service in Calera has rated the storm an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale.

According to NWS surveys, the tornado touched down in Perry County south of the community of Heiberger at 4:37 a.m. and stayed on the ground for 39.5 miles.

The first damage was found along Perry County 16. The tornado tracked northeast into the Talladega National Forest, where hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted. Along Perry County 9, the sanctuary of historic Ephesus Church was destroyed and the building’s roof and steeple were partially blown away.

The tornado continued along Alabama 183 for approximately 6 miles, where it crossed Mat Moore Road and entered into Chilton County.

Along U.S. 82 west of Maplesville, 16 homes received significant roof damage, either partially or completely removed. The twister tracked just north of downtown Maplesville, damaging homes and businesses. In Maplesville, 150 people waited out the storm in a community shelter, which had a tree fall on it but caused no significant damage.

The tornado then moved along Alabama 22, where more trees were knocked down and WKLF’s radio tower collapsed. The tornado then took a noticeable left turn and moved just south of Lomax, where widespread and intense tree damage resulted in damage to several homes.

That said, one well-designed and built home less than 50 yards from the tornado’s path escaped with only superficial damage.

The twister weakened rapidly as it crossed U.S. 31 and dissipated before crossing Alabama 145 and Interstate 65 around 5:30 a.m.

National Weather Service crews continue to survey additional damage in Chilton County, including the storm that came through the Enterprise community.