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Composite Radar Base Layer Reflectivity Image at 4:00 PM (2220 GMT) - 30 Minutes Prior to Tornado Touchdown (Knupp/Goodman 1993)

Composite Radar Base Layer Reflectivity Image at 4:30 PM (2230 GMT) - Time of Tornado Touchdown (Knupp/Goodman 1993)



EF Scale/Max Wind Speed (mph) 


Path Length (Miles)

Path Width (Yards) 

Starting Lat/.Long

Ending Lat/.Long

Huntsville, AL (Madison County)

EF-4 /125 MPH







The tornado initially set down on Redstone Arsenal before tearing through the Airport Road and Jones Valley areas. It continued to the Brownsboro area before lifting near Killingsworth Cove. (Click for a larger map)

Around 4:30 pm on Wednesday, November 15, 1989, a tornado touched down near Madkin Mountain on Redstone Arsenal, southwest of Huntsville. The tornado moved northeast towards the heavily-populated Airport Road area, where it would destroy or damage 80 businesses, 3 churches, a dozen apartment buildings, and more than 1,000 cars. It moved on, climbing over Garth Mountain, demolishing Jones Valley Elementary School, and destroying 259 homes in the Jones Valley area. The tornado then moved out into eastern Madison County, where it damaged the equipment and maintenance headquarters of Commission District 2 as well as a state forestry office, destroyed 3 more homes, a volunteer fire department, several barns and sheds, and numerous electrical towers.

All told, the tornado killed 21 people and injured 463. Rated an F4 on the Fujita Scale, it inflicted approximately $250 million in damage. The picture below is a simulated picture of cloud formations at 4:35 PM CDT.

Storm Survey and Assessment (from NWS Birmingham) - A team of meteorologists from across the NWS Southern Region came together to survey the damage after the 1989 tornado. This document examines the meteorological causes, includes interviews and text products, as well as damage photos.

1989 Huntsville Tornado Poster - A poster showing photographs of damage and accounts of the storm is available for download.