TV forecasters said short, spin-up type tornadoes were possible with Saturday’ storm and that appears to be exactly the kind that got Brindlee Mountain Primary School.
The National Weather Service Office in Huntsville said it was an EF2 with winds of 120 miles per hour, a type of tornado classified as “strong” by the Weather Services.
The tornado started at 1:19 p.m. and was over by 1:24, just 5 minutes in duration. The track was only 150 yards wide and less than a quarter mile.
That’s apparently why the damage was so heavy at the school with little damage in the surrounding neighborhood.
Here’s the Weather’s Service’s official report on the tornado:
The tornado initially touched down just southwest of Brindlee Mountain Primary School. At this location, the school gymnasium,10 classrooms, and the cafeteria were destroyed.
Numerous beams in the roof of the gym were also twisted and bent, and large bolts used to attach it to the foundation were ripped from the structure. EF2 tornado damage was determined at this location, with wind speeds of 120MPH.
In addition to damage to the school,
several trees were snapped or uprooted at this location near the ballfield. A set of bleachers was hurled over 150 yards from one side of the school to the other. Several dumpsters were displaced as well, along with three or four power poles snapped at their bases. This led to additional damage at the school property when the poles fell on the school awning and roof.
Little to no additional tornado damage was noted to the northeast of the school, aside from roofing materials strewn from the damage at the primary school itself. The tornado ended as it crossed Union Grove Road west of the Union Grove Fire Station.