National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Cahaba Heights (Jefferson County) EF-2 Tornado
April 27, 2011

Estimated Maximum Wind:
120 mph
20 Injuries
Damage Path Length:
7.76 miles
Maximum Path Width:
200 yards 
Approximate Start Point/Time:
33.4367/-86.7622 at 554 am
Approximate End Point/Time:
33.4980/-86.6493 at 600 am

National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed damage across southeast Jefferson County. It has been determined that the damage was consistent with a strong tornado. Winds were estimated at 120 mph. A tornado developed along a Quasi-Linear Convective System. It touched down in south central Jefferson County where it affected the Cahaba Heights and Liberty Park communities of the Birmingham Metro area. The tornado touched down near Gresham Elementary School. It knocked down several trees along Country Ridge Pl. The tornado moved northeast and crossed US Hwy 280, near Dolly Ridge Rd where it knocked down numerous trees and damaged buildings along the highway. The tornado strengthened as it moved into Cahaba Heights where it produced damage consistent with an EF2 rating and winds of 120 mph. The most significant area of damage occurred between US Hwy 280 and Cahaba Heights Rd, near Cahaba Heights Elementary School, where numerous homes sustained significant damage from fallen trees. The tornado weakened to an EF1 rating with winds of 100 mph as it continued northeast, but still knocked down trees which resulted in damage to homes and businesses. The tornado crossed Interstate 459 south of Liberty Park knocking down dozens of trees, and continued northeast which caused minor tree damage. The tornado lifted near Grants Mill Rd, 2 miles south of Interstate 459. A person was killed  during clean-up efforts.

A Tornado Warning was in effect from 529 am until 600 am. 

Radar Data & Storm Damage Pics  
Radar Image Radar Image
This is an image of the 0.5 degree reflectivity data from KBMX at 458 am of the circulation near Cahaba Heights. Click to enlarge. This is an image of the 0.5 degree storm relative velocity (SRM) data from KBMX at 458 am of the circulation near Cahaba Heights. Click to enlarge.
Damage Damage
Tree Damage. Click to enlarge. Tree Damage. Click to enlarge.
Damage Radar Image
Tree Damage. Click to enlarge. Damage path just beyond parking lot. Click to enlarge.