EF-2 Tornado confirmed in Phenix City/Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

EF-2 Tornado confirmed in Phenix City/Columbus

Photo submitted by a viewer to pix@wtvm.com of a tree uprooted by the storms. Photo submitted by a viewer to pix@wtvm.com of a tree uprooted by the storms.

By Derek Kinkade  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -- Jim Stefkovich, the Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service in Birmimgham toured the tornado damage in Phenix City and Columbus today.

He said, "What we've come up with is that we do have a tornado, it's ranked EF-2 on the scale, and that's winds of 120-130 miles per hour."

This is the same ranking as the tornado that hit Columbus on March 1, 2007.  The damage this time around wasn't as bad. 

Stefkovich explains, "When we rank tornadoes, we look for the maximum rating and the maximum width, but it's rare that a tornado is that width and that intensity for the entire length."

This tornado was no different, with the worst damage occuring in Phenix City near Valley Lanes and wind speeds dropping off once the tornado crossed the river into Columbus. 

In order to give the tornado a ranking of EF-2, Stefkovich found clues not only in structural damage, but in the trees as well.  He said, "We looked at large trees being uprooted and a lot of hardwoods. We also saw some very large pine trees that were snapped at the base, and it takes a lot more wind to snap a tree at the base than to push a tree over."

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