Our fall severe weather season has been fairly quiet so far this year. While most of our tornadoes occur during the spring months, there is a secondary peak in tornadoes occurring in the months of October and November.
While tornadoes are much less common this time of year, they can be as violent as their spring counterparts. Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the most infamous autumn tornado in north Alabama, the November 15, 1989 tornado that devastated the Airport Road area in Huntsville. The F4 tornado (wind range 207-260 mph), touched down on Redstone Arsenal, then traveled northeast through the business and residential areas along Airport Road. The tornado continued to track through Huntsville, not lifting until it was just northeast of Highway 72 near Brownsboro. The tornado, hitting at the beginning of rush hour, was responsible for 21 deaths, 463 injuries and an estimated $100 million in damage.
The picture below, from the Huntsville Times, is looking west along Airport Road, just east of the Whitesburg intersection.
Ariel view of the Airport Road area from the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
The National Weather Service in Birmingham has a very detailed look at the 1989 Airport Road Tornado here.
WAFF 48 Storm Team