National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Weaver, Alabama F3 Tornado - March 21, 1962


A tornado struck the residential community of Weaver, Alabama around 1 am CST, March 21, 1962. Weaver is approximately 6 miles north northeast of Anniston, Alabama...or some 10 miles north northeast of the Anniston Airport.

National Weather Service Meteorologists visited the damaged area the day after the storm. A survey of the area indicated that the tornado was moving almost due east, or possibly a little north of due east. It first dipped down in an area of trees and underbrush where several trees were blown down. About 200 yards from the touchdown point, the tornado entered an area of new or relatively new houses, most of these homes of brick construction. The first house hit was all brick and the roof was completely sheared off, including all supporting rafters. Immediately across the street, a new house with a brick front was turned a complete flip with several injuries resulting. Another brick home immediately behind this one was heavily damaged. The tornado then crossed another narrow street and heavily damaged another brick home. Flying debris hit the north end of the front of the house, knocking a huge hole in the wall and filling the bedroom with bricks and debris.

From this house, the storm moved across a field of small pine trees, bushes, and sage grass. By this time, which was about one half of a mile from touchdown, there were signs that the tornado was losing some of its power and was spreading out. After about one quarter of a mile through the field, it moved into another residential area where damage was much lighter but extensive. Many homes suffered roof damage and smaller out-buildings were destroyed.

The tornado was rated an F3. The path length was estimated at around two miles long. At touchdown, the tornado was 100 yards wide, but spread out to some 400 to 500 yards near the end of the path.

The survey crew talked to a lady who was in a house that was completely overturned. She said that the tornado struck instantly during a period of complete stillness, but she, as well as others, reported a roar like a freight train. Residents also noted very little lightning and little, if any, thunder.

One of the most convincing factors that it was a tornado was the fact that immediately to the north (about 25 yards) of the overturned house, another house was not even scratched. In the sage field, much of the grass was flat and showed a clear pattern of having been pulled inward toward the center of the tornado.

Large sections of roofing were carried up to 200 yards and deposited in the field. Near the end of the path, at least two large pine trees, some 8 inches in diameter, were snapped off about half way up.

Initial estimates indicate that 2 homes were totally destroyed, 4 to 5 were heavily damaged, and some 20 to 25 others suffering light to moderate damage mainly to roofs.

There was one element of mystery in the survey. About 100 yards south of the main tornado path, a large section of a roof was found lying in a yard. None of the adjacent homes were damaged at all. It is possible that this roof was carried aloft by the storm and slung out of the rotating tornado aloft.

This tornado occurred along the leading edge of a fast moving squall line. The squall line produced peak wind gusts of 58 miles an hour at Birmingham.