Officials: Tornado likely hit Auburn area

A tree down at a home on Gay Street in Auburn
A tree down at a home on Gay Street in Auburn

National Weather Service officials say they'll make an official determination Thursday when they put crews on the ground, but they're highly confident that a tornado touched down in the Auburn area Wednesday.

The apparent tornado looks to have cut a 27 mile path toward the Georgia line snaking through Auburn and Opelika around 4:30pm. While it will take some time for NWS officials to make a full determination, the likelihood is that it was a high EF1 or very low EF2 tornado.

A team will be on the ground in Lee County Thursday morning to survey and clarify the scale.

Lee County officials said the storms that passed through the area did moderate damage, with some reports of roofs being damaged and trees knocked down.

Lee County Emergency Management training officer Chris Tate said there are no reports of injuries at this time.

The Alabama Department of Transportation said a large log in the road forced the right lane of US 280/431 to be closed while crews worked to clean it up, but the roadway is now clear.

Alabama Power says it's working to restore service to approximately 6,000 customers, down from the more than 12,000 who lost power.


Tate says there are no reports of damage on the Auburn University campus, but WSFA 12 News viewers are reporting widespread power outages and downed trees.

The University is working to give shelter to students who were displaced because of the severe weather. The Division of Student Affairs has personnel available to assist displaced students who need a temporary, safe place to stay tonight. To reach the Division of Student Affairs, call (334) 707-4466. This number will be answered 24 hours a day.

All classes are on normal schedule.


Raycom News Network partner WTVM 9 News is also reporting damage in the Notasulga area.

CLICK HERE for a photo slideshow of damage from Wednesday's storm.

The storm damage came during a period when the National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for the Lee County area. 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed. All rights reserved.