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Tue November 18, 2003
Tornado Hits Tuscaloosa
By Brett Tannehill, Alabama Public Radio
Tuscaloosa, AL – Severe weather swept across the state as expected Tuesday causing damage in some communities. In Tuscaloosa, some residents were surprised when a small tornado touched down on one of the city's main thoroughfares with no advance warning. Brett Tannehill reports.
A large utility vehicle is dragging the twisted steel remains of one of three billboards that were blown down on McFarland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa. Broken pieces of glass, metal and wood litter the streets and sidewalks. Dan Fitts is the manager of the Quik Pawn Shop, which sits next to where the billboard landed. Fitts says he saw and heard the tornado's arrival.
Several nearby businesses suffered the same fate, though most damage was cosmetic. There were no sirens or other warnings before this tornado touched down. Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management deputy director Don Hartley says it just goes to show that severe weather is unpredictable.
The tornado is believed to have slipped by weather radar because it wasn't very strong ... an estimated F-zero or F-1. However, the storm was strong enough to carve a 5 mile path through the city, where it also blew down trees and utility poles and damaged roofs. No serious injuries were reported.
For the Alabama Report, I'm Brett Tannehill.