Tim Marshall’s Lee County, AL Tornado damage surveying trip in photos

Some of the photos you have to see to believe!

No words needed. Find photos taken by Tim Marshall during his Lee County, Alabama Tornado damage surveying trip below – quotes above photos come from Marshall.

“’Tim Marshall’ is surveying tornado damage in Lee County. Seeing a combination of poorly anchored and unanchored manufactured homes.”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“AL CARNAGE: Vast majority of the 23 deaths were in manufactured homes.”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“MOWED FOREST: Mile after mile of flattened pine forest. No doubt about where the tornado track was.”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“THE BIG FAIL: Site built homes on concrete slabs had anchor bolts but no nuts or washers to secure the wall plates to the slabs. What the ???”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“TREE STOPPERS: Vaulted and tossed homes that were stopped by trees”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“Vehicles caught by the Tornado. Reminders of why we don’t want to get too close.”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“EF-4 HOME: Examined this house where the NWS assigned the highest rating for this tornado. It was one of the better, self-built homes. At least it would meet code. Wall studs were toenailed to properly bolted base plates. According to a relative, four occupants survived by hiding in the steel bathtub. Many people stopped by to autograph the remaining closet wall, now a shrine.”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

“THAT’S A WRAP! Dr. Daphne LaDue spoke with many storm victims to learn what they did to seek shelter during the tornado. In all, we examined 30 manufactured homes and 11 site built homes in detail. Teaming up social scientists with damage surveyors yielded great information. This research is just beginning!”

Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall
Photo credit: Tim Marshall

That’s a wrap for this post! Let us know what you think of the photos in the comments below.

Dan Satterfield’s blog on the Lee County, AL Tornado is a crucial read…

…which deserved its own post here on Tornado Videos.

Before we get into post, we’re going to introduce the man behind the blog. Dan Satterfield has worked as an on-air meteorologist for over thirty years in Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post. Satterfield took to his blog on agu.org and penned his thoughts on the Lee County, Alabama Tornado. Suffice he did an excellent job, read two excerpts from the post below.

Excerpt 1

“Sirens Are So Last Century

Let’s get the sirens out of the way first. They are not (and never were) designed to be heard indoors. We are talking 1930’s technology, and while some days it may not seem like it, we are living in 2019. People have smart-phones that make Star Trek communicators look old fashioned, and every one of them will alert you to severe weather warnings. Weather sirens are so last century and frankly are a total waste of tax money except in a few specific locations. There are better and more cost-effective ways to alert people to severe weather danger.”

Excerpt 2

“Plenty of Warning

The Storm Prediction Center issued an outlook 24 hours in advance of the tornado that was dead on. They issued a Watch more than 2 hours before the storm and they deserve credit for what I would almost label an eerily accurate forecast. Most residents had at least 9 minutes under a Tornado Warning before the monster cloud with 170 mph winds developed at 2 PM CST last Sunday.

The Tornado Watch was issued by the SPC at 11:40 AM CST. That is over 2 hours before the tornado formed. Read the wording below.

It’s clear that residents had plenty of warning that deadly weather was possible, but 23 died and 90 were injured along the 23-mile path of the EF 4 tornado. Why such a high death toll with all that warning?”

It’s an absolutely incredible piece, which you can read in full here.

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Chaser who went above and beyond in AL Tornado Outbreak offers update

Read this first: Selfless chaser goes above and beyond in AL Tornado Outbreak

We’re not going to say anything, we’re going to turn it over to Rich Lewis to give us his update – which he posted on his Facebook wall.

“Just want to give everyone an update. I just got back home to Birmingham about 30 min ago. I can’t find the words to describe how I am feeling emotionally. I’m exhausted and have so much on my mind. 14 hours of SAR operations has taken its toll on me. The damage I witnessed in Beauregard AL was horrific.

The only damage I’ve seen that was worse was Joplin. The entire area looked like a war zone. Trees were debarked as if you’d peel a banana. Homes completely wiped from their foundations. County Rd 39 and Cave Mill Road, the epi-centre of ground zero had pavement scoured away which was a big factor in the EF-4 rating.

Photo credit: Rich Lewis

At 6 am we still had 20 people missing and many still trapped under rubble. Sadly two more casualties were uncovered bringing the fatality total to 24. A specialized team with cadaver dogs was present, and seeing that hit me hard in the pit of my stomach. They aren’t there for search and rescue.

They are there prepared for recovery. It doesn’t get any more sobering than that. Overnight SAR concentrated heavily on the wooded areas surrounding the heaviest damage path. One crew found a gentleman displaced 1/4 mile away from his home. The crew I was with found multiple survivors buried under mounds of tree debris.

Photo credit: Rich Lewis

I talked to numerous survivors that have lost their entire family. One young man lost both his parents, and both sets of Grandparents to this tornado. Children were amount the casualties, the youngest a 6 year old boy, an 8 year old little girl, and a 10 year old girl who will never come home from a sleepover at a friend’s house.

It was about as bad as it can get. I cried almost the whole way home this afternoon.

I believe casualties could have been lessened significantly if people had taken the warnings more serious. The common theme I heard throughout today was we didn’t see a tornado, we didn’t know one was on the ground. Some of the worst killers hide shrouded in rain. Just because you don’t see a tornado, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Photo credit: Rich Lewis

Lead time was 9 minutes from the moment the tornado touched down to the epi-centre of ground zero in the heaviest damage zone. However the first reports of this storm going tornadic happened just east of Montgomery and 1:30 and was tornado warned shortly thereafter.

It is vital to be weather aware on days such as yesterday. Have a ready action plan in place. And if you know you’re in the path of a tornadic storm, that’s the time to start taking precautions. Don’t wait until you hear sirens, don’t wait until you see the tornado, because it’s too late.

Yesterday’s tornado was so heavily rain-wrapped very few got a glimpse of the monster lurking behind the walls of precip anyways. Yesterday and into the overnight will stay with me for the rest of my life. This isn’t my first tornado disaster or SAR, but this one was definitely different.

It hit me harder as it’s the first time I connected with the victims on a deep emotional level. I want to take this moment to thank everyone for their kind messages, words of encouragement, gratitude, and the all the posts. I was overwhelmed when I saw the amount of support I had when I got home. Today was very rough, but each and every one of you reminded me why it’s important to give back. Thank you.”

Again, we can’t thank you enough for what you did Rich.

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Incredible drone footage of Lee County, AL Tornado

Incredible footage!

Drone footage of the deadly Lee County, AL Tornado has emerged online – watch in the video below.

The footage was captured by Taylor Campbell yesterday, however the footage was uploaded to Live Storms Media’s official YouTube account.

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Lee County, AL Tornado captured on bar surveillance camera

The videos keep coming!

The Lee County, AL Tornado has been captured on a bar surveillance camera – watch in the video below.

The video was posted by WKRG today on their official YouTube account.

If you look closely, you can see the cell tower collapse more clearly.

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AL Tornado survivor Earnestine Reese: “you tell god thank you!”

We love you Earnestine! <3

In the video below, watch Earnestine Reese (seventy two years old) talking to family moments after she was pulled from the debris of her destroyed home.

The video was captured yesterday by Delrico Eiland and was posted by James Spann.

Even though Reese suffered a broken hip, this lady is strong as hell! We wish her all the best and a speedy recovery.

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Selfless chaser goes above and beyond in AL Tornado Outbreak

Rich Lewis was there when others weren’t!

We’re going to start this post a little differently, we’re going to let Lewis’ friend Chris Dickerson give a sense of what this post is about to be about.

“I’m very proud to call Rich Lewis a friend as it is, but to leave your home at night to drive south and participate in private search and rescue efforts after the authorities called them off?”

Image may contain: 1 person
Photo credit: Rich Lewis

How did this all come to light you ask? Lewis posted a thought-provoking and significant statement on his Facebook wall last night – which can read in full below.

“Earlier this evening, Lee County Alabama officials made the hard decision to call off search and rescue (SAR) operations and resume early this morning as recovery efforts. It’s a hard decision and one Emergency Management doesn’t take lightly without great pause.

 It’s now time for some us to step up and what we do best as this is the worst natural disaster in history for the region, and the deadliest Tornado since the 2013 Moore OK Tornado.

Thankfully, there are now private search and rescue crews from all over the South here to continue SAR operations throughout the night along with the help of volunteer’s from local agencies who aren’t ready to give up.

There are still people missing, temps have dropped substantially and we could see wind chills by morning in the 20’s and maybe even the teens in much of Alabama. If we can save even just a few more lives, then it’s worth it.

Time is of the essence for anyone injured or still missing in these temps. We just had a briefing with Red Cross officials. SAR operations will continue from Beaurgard to Smiths Station AL overnight.

It will be a long night, and we will likely see the death toll rise. Please pray for the first responders tonight, we will likely see things none of us want to see. Continue to pray for the families so adversely affected by tonight’s deadly Tornadoes.”  

It goes without saying, this is a whole other level of kind-heartedness. Not forgetting, the service Lewis is giving to the affected community.

We’re extremely proud of you Rich and thank you.

Image may contain: text

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NWS suggests First Lee County Tornado ‘at least an EF-3’

NWS had someone on the ground in Lee County before the sun went down.

The National Weather Service (NWS – Birmingham, AL branch) has suggested via a tweet that the first Tornado impact Lee County, AL was at least an EF-3.

In the tweet, NWS also suggested that it was ½ mile wide. However, this pending further/more detailed assessment today.

This is a developing story and will have more as it comes. However, we firmly believe that it was a low-end EF-4.

It is with regret that we have to report that twenty three people have been killed by the Tornadoes including an eight year old girl. Related article can be read here.

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