National Weather Service: Storm Was Not a Tornado

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- The National Weather Service says the storm that hit the capital city Thursday night was not a tornado despite the reported damage.

The NWS is calling the storm a "downburst" with winds around 85-90 mph.

Wind speeds in that range are equivalent to an EF1 tornado, however, there was no defined path of damage so a tornado has been ruled out.

WSFA 12 News was first on the air when the freak storm hit the capital city.

Just before 8p.m. the WSFA-TV studios on East Delano Avenue began to shake and it sounded like the roof was about to come off. A large tree in front of the station was snapped in half.

Severe weather hit south central Montgomery, parts of Cloverdale, and Huntingdon College.

There are no serious injuries, but there is significant damage reported across the capital city.

Tom Salter with Montgomery Public Schools tells WSFA 12 News Brewbaker Junior High School is closed on Friday because of roof damage.  All other Brewbaker schools are open.

Montgomery Mall on McGhee Road suffered damage and Mall officials asked employees not report to work on Friday.

City Officials set up a command center in the parking lot of Montgomery Mall where they have been assessing damage all night.

Huntingdon College suffered damage to its campus and canceled classes for Friday.  Final exams were also canceled and will be made up on Monday.

Huntingdon College officials advised students living on campus to go home for the weekend.

Some of the worst damage appears to be at the Firestone on Troy Highway where part of the building collapsed.  It will be closed until further notice.

As of 5p.m. Alabama Power Officials have restored power to all but 300 residents affected by the storm.

Power should be restored by to those customers by 7p.m.

If you have seen storm damage and have pictures of it, please email it to

Stay with WSFA 12 News and for the very latest information.