Minute by Minute: Tracking the Deadly Storms
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The National Weather Service has had crews in the Channel 3 viewing area since the deadly outbreak of tornados on April 27. Channel 3 Storm Alert Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys has visited Bradley County to see the destruction left by an EF-4 twister.
After warning viewers for several days, Channel 3 began special coverage around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday when the first tornado warning was issued.
1. A National Weather Service survey team determined that an EF1 tornado with 110 mile per hour winds tracked from Trenton northward to the Tennessee state line in Dade County at approximately 8:40 a.m. The tornado had a path length of 7 miles and was 50 yards wide. There was minor damage to homes and an elementary school.
2. An EF2 hit in Tiftonia around Cummings Highway at 8:55 a.m. to begin "round one." The NWS says the tornado crossed I-24 and had winds of 110 miles per hour.
3. An EF1 tornado with 90 mile per hour winds hit Red Bank a few minutes later at 9:04 a.m. This is the storm that hit Ashland Terrace near Ely Road and created many power outages.
4. An EF0 hit Middle Valley and the Harrison area with damage over a half mile at 9:08 a.m. Winds inside this storm measured around 70 miles per hour.
5. After a few hours' break, Sequatchie County is hit by an EF1 tornado at 2:25 p.m. originating in Dunlap before speeding into Bledsoe County. An EF1 tornado comes with wind speeds around 100 miles per hour. This is the beginning of "round two."
6. The first tornado of the day hits Bradley County as an EF0 with winds at 80 miles per hour around 3:15 p.m. But this tornado will be considered mild before the day ends.
7. The storms become deadlier with the 5:00 p.m. tornado that began in Jackson County, Alabama and became the area's first EF4 tornado. Speeds eventually reached 190 miles per hour as it headed toward the Chattanooga area. This is the tornado Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys said reminded him of something in Oklahoma. On its way it plowed through DeKalb County and eventually weakened to an EF3 after 28 miles of terror on the ground.
8. The entire Channel 3 Storm Alert Team of Paul Barys, David Karnes, and Nick Austin is still on the air at 5:35 p.m. A National Weather Service survey team determined that an EF3 tornado with winds of 150 MPH occurred in Dade and Walker Counties. The tornado moved across the state line into Dade County around 5 miles southwest of Trenton at approximately 5:35 p.m., and lifted just west of Fort Oglethorpe in Walker County around 5:57 p.m. The path length was 18 miles with a width of six tenths of a mile. Note that this path length ONLY includes the area in Georgia (the tornado tracked into Georgia from Alabama). Homes were destroyed, 18 with major damage and tens of thousands of trees were downed. There were 2 fatalities and 12 injuries with this storm.
9. At 6:16 p.m. an EF1 hit Ooltewah with winds at 90 miles per hour. No serious injuries are reported in Ooltewah.
10. Even though the normal newscast is over, Channel 3 stays on the air as an EF1 forms near the Bradley-Hamilton County line with 100 mile per hour winds at 6:30 p.m.
11. A smaller EF0 tornado hits McMinn County at 7:38 p.m.
12. A National Weather Service survey team determined that an EF4 tornado with winds of 175 MPH occurred in Catoosa County. It touched down approximately 8:15 p.m. along Davis Ridge Road, traveling through Ringgold to Cohutta and into Tennessee to begin "round three." The path length was 13 miles with a width of one third of a mile. Seven fatalities and 30 injuries occurred with this tornado. 75 to 100 homes were damaged or destroyed. The worst damage was located on Cherokee Valley Road where 12 homes were obliterated.
13. The Catoosa County tornado moved into Hamilton County around 8:29 p.m. and hit Apison before going into Bradley County. This is the storm that created the most fatalities.
14. Around 9:30 p.m. an EF4 hits Dunlap and the Sequatchie Valley and damages a path of 39 miles before hitting Rhea County. Four people are killed in Bledsoe County. An EF2 tornado is on the ground for five miles.
15. Even though Channel 3 stayed on the air through midnight, the final confirmed tornado in our viewing area touched down at 9:36 p.m. in McMinn County as an EF1. The National Weather Service reports this happened just east of Athens and had winds around 100 miles per hour.
Tennessee By The Numbers
Hamilton County- EF4, EF2, EF1, EF1, EF0, EF0 (9 fatalities, 100+ injuries)
Bradley County- EF4, EF1, EF1, EF0, EF0 (9 fatalities, 89 injuries)
Bledsoe County- EF4, EF3, EF1 (4 fatalities, 10 injuries)
Sequatchie County- EF4, EF2, EF1 (1 fatality- flood, 0 injuries)
Rhea County- EF4, EF1 (0 fatalities, 2 injuries)
Polk County- EF4 (0 fatalities, 0 injuries)
McMinn County- EF2, EF0 (0 fatalities, 0 injuries)
Marion County- EF2 (0 fatalities, 0 injuries)
Georgia By the Numbers
Catoosa County- 8 fatalities, 30 injuries
Dade County- 2 fatalities
Alabama By the Numbers
Jackson County- 8 deaths
DeKalb Count- 32 deaths, 100+ injuries