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Officials: EF-2 tornado confirmed

Weather officials confirmed that an EF-2 tornado made its way into Andalusia last Saturday. | Michele Gerlach/ Star News

Last Saturday’s tornado cut a 23-mile path across two counties, weather officials said Friday.

Jeff Garmin of the Mobile Weather Service said the tornado, which destroyed two homes and damaged 27 others, was an EF-1 on the Fujita scale when it hit locally Sat., April 16.

“The tornado caused higher damage amounts in Escambia County near Damascus,” Garmin said. “It was determined that (when it touched down there) it was an EF-2 tornado with winds up to 130 mph that destroyed three homes and did a significant amount of damage to seven others.

“It continued eastward following Brooklyn Road into the southern portion of Andalusia, where it lifted back into the sky at the (Kiwanis) fairgrounds.

“All in all, it cut a 23-mile track,” he said.

Garmin said once the storm crossed the county line, winds had decreased to 110 mph where the maximum path width was an average of 100 to 200 yards.

“In some areas, though, it increased to 300 yards wide,” he said.

Garmin said if the storm had moved northward, it would have placed the tornado through a heavier populated residential area of the city.

“That day, there was the danger of a potentially deadly tornado locally,” he said. “We did lose seven lives in Alabama, and while there was damage locally, it could have been a lot worse.”