Remembering April 27 Minute by Minute: 4:01 Section-to Trenton-to Flintstone

SECTION, Alabama- Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia (WDEF) – The longest running tornado in our area on April 27th began 3 miles northeast of Section, Alabama on Sand Mountain at 4:01 PM.

It was an EF4 tornado with max winds of 190 mph that was a mile wide at one point.

The twister would remain on the ground for about 40 miles, crossing both Sand Mountain and Lookout Mountain.

It killed 11 people in Alabama and another two in Dade county.

On Sand Mountain, residents described a multi-vortex storm with up to 3 tornadoes, eventually merging into a very large one.

NWS crews found some evidence of this in the damage swath.

Trees were debarked, homes destroyed and vehicles were launched up to 50 yards.

The tornado peaked in intensity as it approached Flat Rock and Higdon.

One old, block foundation home actually exploded when the tornado hit, lifting and sweeping the entire thing several hundred yards.

Amazingly, a mother and her three children sheltering in the hallway all survived.

This is a radar image of the storm as it crossed Sand Mountain toward Trenton.

from National Weather Service

April 27 Alabama storm damage
“Debris from nearby houses are piled near the road and numerous large trees were uprooted in this picture.” from NWS

This topographic map shows how the tornado fell off the bluff of Sand Mountain, heading to Trenton, Georgia.

topo map

By the time the storm entered Dade and Walker county, it has weakened to an EF3 storm with top winds of 150 mph.

But that was plenty strong to carve a wide swatch through the city, destroying homes and businesses alike.

Two people were killed in Trenton and 12 were injured.

dade aerial

“Destroyed homes at Georgia/Alabama line near County Road 201” from NWS

dade aerial 2

“Several damaged/destroyed homes and a bank building (upper right) in Trenton” from NWS

The tornado then swept up Lookout Mountain leaving a cut you can still see five years later.

It continued northeast, destroying several homes in the Hinkle community, before dropping off of the mountain onto subdivisions in Flinstone, Georgia.

The twister moved south of Rossville and Ridgeland High School, finally ending just before the Chickamauga Battlefield and Fort Oglethorpe.

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