Chapman damage not due to tornado

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2005

The National Weather Service said the damage caused by last Saturday’s severe weather was due to straight-line winds.

According to Don Shepherd, a forecaster with the NWS, meteorologists surveyed the damage across central Butler County and determined that it was not a tornado that caused.

Shepherd said the damage was indicative of straight-line winds

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&uot;When you have a tornado, you will find trees and buildings that have been twisted up,&uot; he said.

&uot;Our surveyors found that the damage in Butler County was more consistent with straight-line winds because stuff was simply blown over.&uot;

Shepherd said from damage observed, it appears the wind roared through the area at approximately 70 mph.

He said the radar showed an echo just before the damage happened Saturday, which is common in storms like this.

The severe squall line moved through Butler at approximately 7 a.m. Saturday.

The line of thunderstorms produced widespread wind gusts in excess of 70 mph, knocking down numerous trees and power lines across central Alabama,&uot; Shepherd said. Seven weak tornadoes were produced along the line of thunderstorms that caused additional concentrated damage areas.

Damage in Lowndes County, just north of Greenville, was actually caused by a tornado that stayed on the ground for about one and one-half minutes.

It hit around 6:45 a.m.

This tornado had sustained winds of around 100 mph and destroyed several trees, damaged two mobile homes and took the roof off another house and injured one man who didn’t seek medical attention.