The Department of Agriculture and Industries began monitoring severe weather predicted for Monday, March 19, last week. Staff members from Emergency Programs, Food Safety, Animal Health and Plant Health were on alert and ready to respond to emergency situations that may arise from severe weather damage.
Department staff and response teams were dispatched as soon as weather permitted. Damage assessments reported were submitted by ADAI staff to the Emergency Program Director as soon as possible. Agricultural association partners worked with their members and submitted damage reports to the department as well. At this time, Food Safety damage is limited to loss of power at a few retail establishments in affected areas. Animal Heath damage assessment reports included loss of farm equipment and major structural damage on personal farm property. Also, some significant structural damage occurred at two commercial agricultural facilities. Plant Health staff reported a loss of several beehives.
The National Weather Service (NWS) storm survey teams will continue to survey damage from Monday's severe storms. As of Wednesday morning, the NWS storm survey teams have confirmed nine tornado tracks.
Six were in north Alabama:
1. Elkmont-Ardmore tornado (Limestone County): EF-2, top winds 125 mph
2. Horton tornado (Marshall County): EF-2, top winds of 112 mph
3. Hazel Green area tornado (Madison County): EF-1, top winds 105 mph
4. Massey tornado (Morgan County): EF-1, top winds 100 mph
5. Cedar Green tornado (Franklin County): EF-1, top winds 100 mph
6. Russellville tornado (Franklin County): EF-1, top winds 90 mph
Three tornadoes have been confirmed in east-central Alabama:
1. Blount Mountain tornado (Blount to St. Clair counties): EF-1, top winds 90 mph
2. Asheville-Southside tornado (St. Clair and Calhoun counties): EF-2, top winds 120 mph
3. Jacksonville tornado (Calhoun and Cleburne counties): EF-3, top winds of 140 mph.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency for Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Walker, and Winston counties.
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency's State Emergency Operations Center is activated with the declaration and Alabama Emergency Operations Plan is in effect.
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers of two programs that may provide assistance following severe weather losses on the farm. First is the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) which provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. The second is the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) which provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths more than normal mortality caused by eligible loss conditions. Adverse weather can be considered one of these conditions. For more information about this program, contact your local USDA FSA office.