National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Bessemer-McCalla EF-2 Tornado (Jefferson Co)
  March 1, 2016


Event Summary

National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed damage in Western Jefferson County just east of McCalla and south of Bessemer and have determined that the damage was consistent with an EF-2 tornado. Maximum winds were estimated to be around 120-125 mph.

The tornado touched down just east of McAdory High School on the west side of Overlook Circle with some damage to a roof. There were 12 homes and 1 church that suffered minor damage up to this point as the tornado proceeded east crossing Harper's Dairy Loop.  From here it strengthened to an EF-2 as it crossed the Bent Brook neighborhood where it destroyed 6 homes and caused significant damage to 6 other homes.  The pro shop at Bent Brook Golf Course also sustained minor damage along with a vehicle overturned.  The tornado weakened back to an EF-1 as it moved east of the golf course and caused minor damage to 2 more homes and destroyed a free standing garage.  The tornado finally lifted just east of Morgan Road on Rice Circle.  In total, 14 homes sustained minor damage, 6 sustained substantial damage, and 6 homes were destroyed.  An additional 3 buildings sustained damage, along with several hundred trees snapped or uprooted along the path.

Damage before the start point was caused by straight-line winds from the rear flank downdraft that was associated with the storm.

Estimated Maximum Wind:
120-125 mph
Damage Path Length:
5.59 miles
Maximum Path Width:
465 yards
Approximate Start Point/Time:
at 543 pm
Approximate End Point/Time:
at 550 pm


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Reflectivity (left) and velocity (right) as the tornado moved through Bent Brook Golf Course. Images are from KBMX at 544 pm.


  Tree damage
House damage
Homes damaged
Tree & home damage