Twisters touch Shelby County – Cleanup continues after tornadoes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Shelby County is cleaning up from two tornados that came through different parts of the county Saturday morning.

While most people were still in their beds, the two F-0 twisters damaged trees, power lines and even some homes and vehicles. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

F-0 tornados are the weakest in the Fujita scale, which measures tornados based on winds. The two that came through Shelby County were no stronger than 73 miles per hour.

Both tornados came through just after 5 a.m. The first storm, which hit Helena, Pelham and Alabaster, started at 5:04 a.m. and lasted 14 minutes, according to the National Weather Service. The storm path was 11.4 miles.

Helena received much of the brunt. At least one tree fell on a house, and several trees fell on cars. Some of the worst damage could be seen at Penhale Park, where a handful of surrounding homes sustained roof and fence damage.

Ballfield No. 2 at the park was still littered with debris at noon Monday.

The roof of an adjoining storage shed had blown off, with much of the remnants on the field.

A batting cage near left field was little more than a tangled web of mesh and metal. Just one street over, four city workers were removing fallen limbs that homeowners had placed at the curb.

Coincidentally, there were little if any visible effects of the storm by Monday morning at nearby Joe Tucker Park. Only a handful of walkers could be seen at the park.

Eighteen minutes after the first tornado, a second hit three miles northeast of Columbiana.

It lasted only one minute but did cause damage to at least one home. Several trees and power lines were also reported down.

Sixteen thousand Alabama Power customers in the Birmingham-Hoover service area, which includes Shelby County, lost power Saturday, according to Alabama Power spokesperson Alice Gordon.

Pelham, Helena and Columbiana were among the hardest hit.

By that evening, only a few dozen county residents were without power.

&uot;Crews worked all day long Saturday, and through the night,&uot; Gordon said.

The last time a tornado had come through Shelby County before Saturday was May 7, 2003, when a F1 caused minimal damage in Wilsonville