Officials: Tropical Storm Claudette’s produced at least 7 tornadoes across 4 states

Published 6:09 am Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Thunderstorms associated with Tropical Storm Claudette produced at least seven confirmed tornadoes across the South over the weekend.

National Weather Service surveyors confirmed three tornadoes in Mississippi, two in Alabama, and one each in Georgia and North Carolina, all occurring Saturday or Sunday.

The most noteworthy twister struck East Brewton, Alabama, on Saturday. That storm had estimated top winds of 127 mph (204 kilometers per hour). The storm stayed on the ground for 22 miles (35 kilometers) across southwest Alabama, destroying many mobile homes and damaging businesses and a high school. Emergency management officials say 20 people were injured, two seriously. It was the only Claudette-associated twister that produced injuries.

The damage path was as wide as 650 yards (600 meters) with the tornado finally lifting off near Castleberry.

Crews continued to clear debris in East Brewton and Brewton on Monday. The American Red Cross fed people and churches distributed cleanup supplies while officials said on social media that they were trying to match volunteers to people with damage.

Another much weaker storm hit near Florala, Alabama, on Saturday, with top winds of 80 mph (130 kilometers per hour) and a path that stretched 0.6 miles (1 kilometer).

Three small tornadoes were confirmed on the Mississippi Gulf Coast between midnight and dawn Saturday. A storm with top winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour) hit Long Beach, damaging vehicles and numerous houses on its 1.15-mile track (1.85 kilometers) Another weak twister damaged an apartment complex in Pass Christian, blowing away an air conditioning unit and launching the remains of a shredded awning 1,000 yards away (0.9 kilometers). A third twister east of Hurley on the Alabama state line caused mostly tree damage, although there was minor damage to one home.

In southwest Georgia, a confirmed tornado stretched for 30 miles (48 kilometers) from north of Blakeley to north of Cuthbert. Its top winds of 100 mph (160 kilometers per hour) dropped trees across U.S. 82 and caused minor structure damage.

On Sunday, a weak tornado touched down near Somerset, North Carolina. The storm had estimated top winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour. It caused mainly tree damage along its 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) path, including dropping a tree on a metal building.

Weather service officials say tree and structure damage caused by winds in areas around Pensacola, Florida, were not caused by tornadoes, but by strong wind gusts from Claudette, with estimated winds speeds of 60 to 80 mph (95 to 130 kilometers per hour). Pensacola International Airport recorded a wind gust of 81 mph.