Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Tornado Chronicles: Riderwood, AL Tornado of December 25, 2012

A short lived but strong tornado touched down near the Community of Riderwood in Choctaw County, Alabama during the late afternoon hours of Christmas Day, 2012.  The tornado was rated EF-2 intensity with maximum winds estimated within the 111-135 mph range.

The National Weather Service (NWS) survey of this tornado notes a starting point along Pineview Road near Riderwood, or about 8 miles West/Southwest of Butler, AL, around 4:45 pm CST.  The tornado then traveled generally toward the Northeast for 6 miles, lifting approximately 4.6 miles Northwest of Butler, AL at about 4:56 pm CST.  

The tornado produced EF-2 damage very near where it first touched down, with 3 manufactured homes completely destroyed.  One of the homes rolled over and the debris was carried several hundred yards away:

The tornado then continued to the Northeast and mainly caused EF-0 or EF-1 intensity damage to trees and some power lines:

Fortunately, the tornado became almost one-half mile wide as it crossed Riderwood Drive in a very rural area, shortly before dissipating.  Had the tornado tracked just over 3 miles to the East at that point, it would have dealt a potentially devastating blow to the town of Butler.

Just like the majority of the other tornadoes that took place on Christmas Day 2012, there are no known photos or videos of the tornado itself that have come forward to date.  We'll continue to be on the lookout and post any new information and/or photos as they become available.

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