Trion, GA – The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed the tornado that struck Walker County on April 12, 2020 was an EF2 that produced winds up to 125 miles per hour.
The storm summary shows at its maximum strength, the tornado stretched 800 yards wide and traveled nearly 16 miles. NWS reports the tornado started at 8:15 p.m. about 1.8 miles northwest of Summerville and ended at 8:32 p.m. about 4.2 miles southeast of LaFayette.
From the NWS report:
This tornado originated just north of Summerville in Chattooga county where several trees were snapped or uprooted around the Hair Lake Road/Mahan Road intersection. The tornado traveled northeast, continuing to snap or uproot small to medium-sized trees. A 10K pound camper was overturned by the tornado near Orchard Hill Road otherwise structural damage was mainly confined to shingles and/or siding being pulled off homes. As the tornado continued to travel toward the town of Pennville over some remote terrain, it appeared to briefly intensify over Back Penn Road, just west of Hwy 27. A trailer was destroyed and one corner of a barn’s exterior wall was heavily damaged. Multiple trees around this property were uprooted as well. The damage at this point was consistent with an EF-1 (90-95 MPH winds). Mainly pockets of tree damage and minor structural (roof) damage was then seen as the tornado moved just east of Trion, beginning to encounter Taylor Ridge and the Walker county line.
The tornado crossed the Chattooga/Walker county line nearly paralleling Halls Valley Road. Trees were down on either side of the road as the tornado appeared to turn more north, possibly being affected by the higher terrain/ridge to the east. More significant tree damage was seen along Ramey Road just before Hwy 151. Evidence of numerous large trees snapped along with more intense structural damage along 151 just east of Halls Valleys Road suggested the tornado intensified to EF-1 quickly. It was also at this time that a small Tornado Debris Signature (TDS) was seen from KHTX (Hytop AL) radar.
About 1/4 mile up the hill from 151 and Halls Valley Road, a 2-story home was hit hard. The entire second story and roof were removed with heavy damage to the exterior walls. A jeep was also tossed more than 150 yards from its original location.
An additional home had a good portion of its roof torn off on one side while the floor above the garage collapsed on the other side. Windows and doors were blown out and numerous large pines were snapped about halfway down. It was in this area between the Hwy 151 and Halls Valley Road intersection and Beard Drive, the tornado was at its strongest (EF-2) with max winds between 120-125 MPH. The tornado then crossed Hwy 151 around Mildred’s Way with more snapped/uprooted trees, then appeared to quickly weaken as it rode the west-side of Taylor’s Ridge. Tree damage dropped off and ended near Smith Gap Road with no other damage seen beyond this point.