National Weather Service confirms tornado hit Notasulga

MACON CO., AL (WSFA) - As with any storm that comes through, neighbors typically pull together and clean up.  In Sammy Whitman's case, he stands amazed at the speed in which the storm cell blew up.

Whitman lost his home in Notasulga in Macon County, and he nearly lost his life.

"My daughter told me it was coming but I didn't pay any attention, thinking it was another false alarm. I'll remember next time," said Whitman.

Whitman Hill Road had 13 homes, a quiet part of Notasulga. The homes were either damaged or destroyed, and that worries Macon County Commissioner Robert Berry because some of these folks didn't have insurance.

Berry tells WSFA 12 News that even though the homes are damaged, they're not damaged enough to qualify for federal assistance.

"They say you have to have 100 homes damaged or destroyed and we don't have that many," said Commissioner Berry.

The American Red Cross out of Montgomery says it fed about a dozen residents, and those who've lost their homes will end up staying with relatives.

There was significant damage on Whitman Hill Road but no broken lives. "That's the important thing. No one got hurt or killed," said Berry.

It's estimated the storm damaged property in about a 400 yard radius around Whitman Hill Road.

Information from Jim Stefkovic of the Birmingham NWS

  • The tornado's track continues to stretch. NWS officials say the track is a continuous 30 miles or longer, perhaps even to the 50 mile point.
  • NWS officials say it appears the tornado touched down South of Notasulga and continued its track all the way to Lake Harding.
  • They say the tornado appears to be a high EF 0 and a low EF 1 in some locations.
  • Hardest hit areas are Lake Harding, where wind speeds reached topped out at 105 miles per hour.
  • Most of the damage was done in EF 0 winds that reached 70-80 miles per hour.
  • In Alabama November and early December account for 30-40 percent of tornado activity.
  • Stefkovich says East Alabama residents were well prepared for this storm and many were warned 19 minutes before the storm reached their area.
  • Stefkovich believes because of the April breakout that devastate Alabama, residents were much more apt to take cover and get to a safe location as soon as watches and warnings were issued.
  • Stefkovich says they have not had ANY reports of injuries or death. They attribute that to EMA and forecasters (DK) early and excellent warnings to the public and the public taking them seriously.

The total estimated cost of the widespread damage will take a few days to calculate.

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