NWS: One tornado possibly 59 miles long - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

NWS: One tornado possibly 59 miles long

(Source: columbus.raycomweather.com [WTVM Weather Blog]) (Source: columbus.raycomweather.com [WTVM Weather Blog])
Viewer submitted photo of damage at Lake Harding. (Source: Terry ) Viewer submitted photo of damage at Lake Harding. (Source: Terry )
Viewer submitted photo of damage at Lake Harding. (Source: Terry) Viewer submitted photo of damage at Lake Harding. (Source: Terry)
Damaged cars at Harris County High School in Hamilton, GA. In the background is the school's gym torn apart by Wednesday's storm. (Source: Facebook) Damaged cars at Harris County High School in Hamilton, GA. In the background is the school's gym torn apart by Wednesday's storm. (Source: Facebook)
(WTVM) -

The National Weather Service confirms that damages from Wednesday's storm surge was done by one tornado, a continuous path from Notalsulga, AL to Shiloh, GA.

Initial estimates show the storm may have been more than 59 miles long. Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with 0 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest. 

While Lee County experienced damage from an EF-0 to an EF-1 tornado, the damage was more extensive in Harris County, GA. The NWS says Harris County was hit by an EF-2 storm, since the tornado made its way across a river, crossing state lines.

It also adds that wind speeds from the twister were estimated at 125 miles per hour in Hamilton, GA.

The storm damaged Harris County High School, an animal control center and a governmental building. At least two people were injured in Harris County.

It is believed the tornado traveled about 33 milies from Notasulga, AL to the state line, then 26 miles across Harris County.  

[SLIDESHOW: Severe Weather Photos - November 16]

Friday, weather service crews performed an aerial survey to see if damage in Mongtomery County, AL was connected to the damage path near Notasulga. If that is the case, the damage path could be even longer. 

News Leader 9 talked to Jim Stefkovich. He is the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Birmingham, AL.  Stefkovich tells us he and his crews have been on the ground all day surveying damage from Wednesday's storms in east Alabama.

NWS officials tell us the tornado's track continues to stretch. In some locations the tornado appears to be a high EF-0 and a low EF-1, with the hardest hit area in Lee County being Lake Harding where speeds reached 110 miles per hour.

NWS officials add that most of the damage in east Alabama may have been done by an EF-0 that had winds that reached 70-80 miles per hour.

Statistics show that in Alabama, November and early December accounts for 30-40% of tornado activity.

Stefkovich says east Alabama residents were well prepared for this storm and many were warned 19 minutes before the storm reached their area. 

He believes growing awareness from the April tornado breakout that devastated Alabama, residents were much more apt to take cover and get to a safe location as soon as watches and warnings were issued by local forecasters. 

NWS says that they have not had ANY reports of injuries or death in Alabama. 

It will take a few days to tabulate the cost of the widespread damage in Lee County, AL and Harris County, GA.  

[Harris County High School roof, gym damaged from storm]

At least six people have been killed by Wednesday's storm system that spawned several tornadoes as it moved across the southeast. It has been called the worst outbreak of storms since tornadoes killed 250 people in April. Officials say an adult and child were killed in North Carolina - three died in South Carolina. In north Georgia, a man was killed when a tree fell on his SUV. 

[See our special report, April Fury: 6 Months Later

News Leader 9 will continue to follow the latest developments from these storm-ravaged areas. We'll have the latest information on News Leader 9, WTVM.com and on our WTVM mobile app.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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