National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Highland Lakes EF-0 Tornado (Shelby County)
  April 14, 2019


Event Summary

Estimated Maximum Wind:
80 mph
Damage Path Length:
6.48 miles
Maximum Path Width:
600 yards
Approximate Start Point/Time:
1 SE Oak Mountain Lake
at 405 am
Approximate End Point/Time:
1 W Shoal Creek Golf Club
at 414 am


National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed the damage in north central Shelby County and determined it was the result of a tornado with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

The tornado developed just northeast of County Road 11 near County Road 36. This area was inaccessible, and the tornado start point was based upon NEXRAD dual pol tornado debris signature off the KBMX radar. The tornado navigated rough terrain across Ivy Branch and into the northwest portion of a subdivision along Reach Crest Road and Reach Crest Drive where thin tree trunks were snapped and other trees were uprooted. One tree was uprooted and fell onto a sports utility vehicle, damaging the rear door and knocking out the window. A nearby residence suffered notable roof damage resulting in three holes that penetrated the ceiling sheet rock and permitting water damage to portions of the second level.

The tornado continued northeast where limited uplift to a roof occurred and a wind turbine ventilator was torn off the roof and found over 20 feet away from the home. Across the street along a narrow drainage basin, the funneling of inflow winds likely caused wind speed acceleration that knocked over a heavy metal outdoor grill, tore a few downspouts from their wall anchoring, and downed some fencing by snapping the support posts and blowing the wood at least 10 feet. Further northeast a small portion of a covered drive suffered some uplift of sheathing at North Shelby Baptist Church where a few trees were snapped or uprooted near the entrance of Belcher Drive. To the east of U.S. Highway 280, multiple trees were snapped or uprooted along a portion of Old Highway 280 road near Salser Lane. The tornado moved north-northeast of this point through uninhabited and inaccessible areas and then reached the Highland Lakes Subdivision where it crossed Highland Lakes Drive and affected areas along Southledge Road. The majority of damage here was due to snapped or uprooted trees though some minor roof damage was noted to a home along Southledge Road. Further northeast along Southledge Road near Ledge Circle, a home lost some shingles and a portion of a backyard fence was downed due to the winds.

The tornado continued northeast and affected some areas along Highland Lakes Trail along with some locations along Springhill Lane, Springhill Court, Mountain Trace, and Watersedge Circle. Nearly all of the damage in this area was to trees either snapping or becoming uprooted. One home did lose a window likely due to a falling tree. Further northeast the tornado produced tree damage on portions of Knollwood Drive, Watermill Circle, Highland Lakes Trail, Sandhurst Circle, Grove Park Parkway, and Grove Park Circle. Along Grove Park Parkway there was some roof damage to a home along with minor damage to two signs and one street light along the roadway. The tornado damage was confined to trees as it continued northeastward affecting portions of Milners Lane, Crescent Circle, Milners Way, Milner Road West, Milner Way, Hugh Daniel Drive, and Greystone Cove Drive. The tornado gradually weakened in this area and dissipated shortly before reaching Lake Hardwood Drive.


Radar Image
Reflectivity (left) and velocity (right) of the circulation just after the tornado touched down.
Images are from KBMX at 405 am.


Damage Photo
  Tree Damage
Damage Photo
  Tree Damage