The Tornado Outbreak of March 17th-18th, 2025 was a record breaking tornado outbreak that brought widespread tornadic activity on the Southern Plains and then to the Ohio River Valley and eastern United States. Several strong to violent tornadoes occurred, some of them becoming the longest tracked tornadoes ever recorded and some of the worst tornadoes on record.
On March 16th, after a week of above average temperatures for much of the central and southern United States, a vigorous upper level trough moved south from Canada to the eastern Rocky Mountains. Heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions struck cities like Denver and Cheyenne as a surface low developed over northeastern New Mexico. During the morning of March 17th, the low positioned itself over Liberal, Kansas and deepened quickly, shooting warm moist air as far north as Wichita and Joplin and pushing cold air as far south as Amarillo and Lubbock. Unstable air reached central Oklahoma by midday east of a dryline associated with a stationary front over western Oklahoma. The 1000 to 1500 J/kg CAPE values combined with about 200 m2/s2 of 0-1km SRH made the Storm Prediction Center issue a Moderate Risk of severe weather for central Oklahoma, along Interstate 35. The outlook mentioned the high possibility of strong, long tracked supercells that would have passed over the same areas over and over because the front was stationary and this would have led to the possibility of several tornadoes tracking through the same cities and the risk of flash flooding.
Just after 1:30 PM CST, storms exploded west of Oklahoma City and several rounds of supercells struck the metro and areas south of there. Single supercells, HP supercells and complexes of supercells passed over the same areas in central Oklahoma. North-central Oklahoma was speared because of morning heavy rain that prevented air to become unstable. Heavy tornado damage along with several fatalities and injuries occurred in northwestern Oklahoma City, Mustang, Moore and Norman. The hardest hit areas though were Duncan and Lindsay, struck by a powerful EF4 tornado. Severe damage occurred down south as well, in north-central Texas, as parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and the city of Hamilton were struck by strong tornadoes.
After the front pushed quickly to the east-northeast, storms were swept away from the plains states and the storm system accelerated unexpectedly towards the Midwestern states. By the morning of March 18th, a very deep surface low was racing towards Saint Louis, Missouri and the jet stream reached speeds up to 105 knots (120 mph) and accelerated even more as storms fired later in the morning. Unstable air, with CAPE values up to 2000-2500 J/kg, was hardly pushed towards the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and 0-1 km SRH reached extreme values up to 450 m2/s2, making the perfect enviroment for a violent tornado outbreak. The SPC issued a High Risk of severe weather for south-central Illinois and surrounding areas as "a major tornado outbreak is forecast for the area". In the outlook was mentioned a very high chance of violent, very long tracked tornadoes. Paths would have been unusually long due to the unusually strong jet stream and resulted fast moving supercells.
The afternoon of March 18th, 2025 was as devastating as the 100 years precursor, if not worse as three extremely long tracked tornadoes devastated areas of eastern Missouri, central Illinois, southern Indiana, northern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio, killing hundreds of people and destroying numerous cities and towns, including Saint Louis, Paducah, Evansville, Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. Intense tornadoes struck also Tennessee and Alabama, causing more damage and harm.
Longest Track - The strongest tornado of the outbreak broke the record for the longest lifespan, with an about 268 miles (432 km) long continuous path. This tornado took the place of the Tri-State Tornado of 1925 as longest tracked tornado ever recorded. The tornado remained on the ground for just over three hours, becoming one of the longest lived tornadoes ever. Other two twisters from this outbreak took their places on the top longest lived tornadoes as well, one with a 217 miles (350 km) long path, third to the Saint Louis - Indianapolis Tornado and the Tri-State Tornado and the other, the fourth longest lived tornado ever recorded, had a path of 213.7 miles (344 km). These four tornadoes are followed by the 1966 Candlestick Park Tornado and the 1971 Mississippi EF4 (likely tornado family though).
Fastest Tornado - While the 1925 Tri-State Tornado had the highest forward speed, these three tornadoes broke that record, reaching recorded speeds of 85 mph (136 km/h), and 80 mph (128 km/h) respectively. This was caused by unusually strong jet stream winds that made supercells race at extremely high speeds. This also makes the already impressive amount of damage caused my these three tornadoes even more incredible. In fact, being so fast they managed to cause EF5 damage in any case, leading to think what magnitude of damage would have occurred if the twisters would have been slower.
Along these records, these tornadoes were capable of picking up objects like photographs and making them fall over 250 miles away. The single most impressive distance was caused by the Saint Louis - Indianapolis Tornado, which picked up a photo in Saint Louis and threw it up in the storm's updraft. The photograph remained in the storm for an impressive distance and was later found around Medina, Ohio, about 470 miles (757 km) to the northeast as the storm was dissipating during the late evening hours.
Two of these three EF5s entered the top killer tornadoes list as well, with one causing 214 deaths (entering the top 20 killer tornadoes list and almost the top 15) and the other causing 101 deaths. In other words, just these two twisters caused about three quarters of the total death toll of the entire outbreak.
Mustang - The Village Tornado
The first strong tornado of the outbreak touched down at about 1:55 PM CST on the outskirts of the town of Mustang, Oklahoma. From there, the twister tracked through the middle of town, missing the downtown businesses by less than a quarter of a mile. The tornado narrowly missed Mustang Lakehoma Elementary School as well and struck directly the Bridge Church. From there, the vortex passed over residental areas causing EF2 damage while damage to the southwest was in the EF1 range, included the church. Leaving Mustang, the twister passed through the Oklahoma City neighborhoods of Trailswest, South Pointe Estates and Westbrooke Estates and crossed Interstate 40 right at a Ford car dealership. Several cars from the buildings were thrown on the interstate and others further north. A metal power truss was downed north of missed industries, taking out the power for a lot of factories and shops. Reached EF3 strength, the tornado passed over many residential areas of northwestern Oklahoma City, destroying numerous homes east of Lake Overholser and south of downtown Bethany. Ten apartment complexes were severely damaged and three lost their last floors, killing four people. Destroying more houses at EF3 intensity, the tornado crossed Interstate 44 and turned north towards Nichols Hills and The Village. The Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club suffered a direct hit and three people were killed as they were seeking shelter. Homes around the club were destroyed, the main building lost the entire two upper floors, golf cars were thrown in the club's lakes and trees were partially debarked. After tracking over Casady School in The Village, where heavy damage to builidings and sport fields occurred, the tornado weakened to a low end EF2 and struck a few more subdivisions where roofs were severely damaged and only a couple of them were destroyed. The tornado damaged also M.A. Elderly Center and a Special Care Inc. builiding, causing roof damage and flipping several cars, before passing over the D-BAT Sportsplex, where all the lights, billboards and fences were downed, twisted or destroyed. Tents, outbuildings and three trailers were destroyed as well. As the tornado crossed the John Kilpatrick Turnpike, it weakened to an EF1 and dissipated over some industries before entering the Edmond area.
The tornado affected over 15000 structures, of which about 2500 of them were destroyed and 6000 more were severely damaged. The tornado was rated as an high end EF3 and killed 8 people. One of the fatalities occurred as a car was thrown from Interstate 44. 54 more people were injuried and economic losses approached 750 million dollars, including damage suffered by not hit industries and property damaged by baseball sized hail northwest of the tornado, around Lake Overholser, Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and Lake Hefner especially. The tornado was watched from all of downtown Oklahoma City and from Will Rogers Airport, making this one of the most documented and observed tornadoes.
Ninnekah - Moore Tornado
The first violent tornado of the outbreak touched down due south of Ninnekah over a forested area where, as a multiple vortex tornado, it downed several trees in sporadic and random paths. A couple homes in the area suffered EF1 damage as the twister damaged roofs and destroyed outbuildings. The tornado crossed Highway 19 northwest of the Alex community after causing damage to trees and crops along with downing power lines and destroying a hay barn with two silos. The tornado damaged more fields and trees as it moved towards Highway 39, missing all the farmsteads in the area and reaching EF2 strength as it impacted a small subdivision east of the community of Tabler where several mobile homes were destroyed, trees and power poles downed and two homes lost their roofs. The twister then paralleled Highway 62 barely missing the Middleberg community and tracked over the western sections of Blanchard. Numerous homes suffered EF3 damage, being completely destroyed and one leveled in the southwestern sections of town, while in the northwestern sections, grass was scoured from fields and trees were partially debarked. Blanchard High School lost the west part of its roof and all of the windows. Continuing northeast, the tornado destroyed several more homes between Blanchard and Newcastle as an high end EF3, crossing Highway 62 while striking Newcastle Memorial Gardens and a professional animal health center. In southeastern Newcastle, a subdivision was directly struck by the tornado, where it caused EF4 damage as three homes were completely leveled and two cars were thrown in a forest nearby. As the tornado crossed the Canadian River, a Tornado Emergency was issued for the city of Moore and the twister deeply scoured grass and crops while obliterating homes and mangling cars beyond recognition. The far northwestern part of Norman was barely missed as the east side of the tornado stopped at the Silvered Eyes Ranch and the southwestern part of Moore was directly struck by the tornado.
A large subdivision south of Oakridge Elementary School was devastated by the tornado: twenty homes were completely leveled and all of the others were destroyed or lost their upper floors. Still at EF4 strength, the tornado passed right over Oakridge Elementary School and Southmoore High School as well. Cars in the area were thrown around, grass was scoured, trees debarked, power poles snapped just above their bases and homes completely destroyed or leveled. Approaching the downtown area, the twister tracked were the May 20th, 2013 tornado impacted Plaza Towers Elementary School, devastating Tom Strouhal Little River park and leveling Southgate Baptist Church. Plaza Towers itself was struck suffering heavy damage as the roof was completely ripped off and cars were thrown against the building. Moore Cemetery was devasted as well, as hundreds of graves were opened and grass was scoured. KOMA 1520 towers were downed and twisted and cars were mangled. Suddenly, the tornado made a loop due west of downtown Moore, on the west side of Interstate 35, and weakened drastically before dissipating missing Southgate-Rippetoe Elementary School.
After a first preliminary rating of EF5, the tornado was later downgraded to an EF4 because homes were leveled completely but were not swept clean. Along the tornado's path, 5 people were killed (all of them in mobile homes southwest of Moore) and 23 were injuried, over 3000 structures were affected and about 1000 of them were either destroyed or leveled. This tornado was covered by international media being the fifth violent tornado to hit Moore in less than 30 years and the 10th tornado to hit town in the same period of time; it was also heavily covered thanks to the lack of fatalities in Moore. The tornado likely reached EF5 status somewhere in its path as a mobile radar recorded winds just above 200 mph in a subvortex west of Norman. Overall, the twister remained on the ground for just under 40 miles paralleling the May 3rd, 1999 track. Severe damage occurred outside the tornado as well, as baseball size hail fell on Chickasha, Amber and Bridge Creek along with large debris (sheet metal and 2x4 wooden planks) and over 100 mph Rear Flank Downdraft winds destroyed the KFOR South Doppler weather radar while the tornado was passing just a mile to the north.
Moore - Jones Tornado
As the Ninnekah - Moore tornado dissipated, the mesocyclone became disorganized over the city and then re-strengthened after ten minutes. As the storm re-gained its structure, a new tornado developed on Moore, just north of Moore High School. From there, the twister tracked right over Buck Thomas Park gaining quickly intensity. In Moore, the tornado caused high end EF2 damage as many homes lost their roofs and cars were tossed from one side of the road to the other; trees and power lines were downed as well, blocking the roads to the emergency crews that were trying to reach the areas devastated to the southwest. Leaving Moore, the tornado hit Bryant Elementary School and a nearby mobile home park, where a fatality occurred and over twenty mobile homes were obliterated. The school suffered light damage, with most of the windows blown out and some siding damage. As the tornado passed over the southeastern side of Del City, it kept its high end EF2 status and approached Tinker Air Force Base while destroying roofs and upper floors in the Parkview neighbourhood and barely missing another mobile home park. The twister then entered Midwest City after destroying the Tinker Golf Course and throwing debris onto the base, reaching EF3 strength as it destroyed a shop and homes south of Jarman Middle School. In Midwest City, numerous homes were destroyed and the Lions Park suffered heavy damage with widespread light debarking and debris thrown everywhere. The tornado severely damaged the Midwest City Water & Sewer facility and destroyed several more homes to the northeast. Approaching Nicoma Park, the twister weakened back to a EF2 and continued to down trees and power lines, along with destroying roofs and throwing outbuildings and then continued north-northeast towards Jones while mantaining EF2 status. Between Nicoma Park and Jones, over 5000 trees were downed and downed power lines caused a massive black-out, with over 20000 people in that area left without electricity. The tornado passed on the western outskirts of Jones, causing severe damage to metal power trusses and a few shops to then slow down and turn to the right once it got northwest of downtown Jones. From there the tornado weakened quickly and dissipated in rural areas northeast of town after downing some more trees.
Overall, the tornado caused 1 death and 47 injuries during its lifespan. Its path was just below 25 miles long and a mile wide in diameter in a couple of spots, making this the largest tornado of the day even though the path width was defined by the complete EF0 contour, which was wider than three times the EF3 portion of the tornado itself. The tornado also caused a massive amount of damage to power lines and water system, leaving over 50000 people in total without power. Just the damage to the power grid and water system reached 300 million dollars and was added to the 200 millions of property damage, with over 4000 structures struck and about 250 of them being destroyed.
Duncan - Lindsay Tornado
The most destrucitve tornado of the day touched down just outside of downtown Duncan, Oklahoma, west of Halliburton Airfield. As it touched the ground, the twister demolished several outbuildings and flipped a few cars. Power poles and trees were downed while roofs of homes were severely damaged. Then the tornado rapidly intensified as it got into downtown Duncan obliterating an entire mobile home park and parts of a commercial and industrial area, where numerous buildings were completely destroyed. Between Highway 7 and downtown, numerous homes were completely destroyed and in some cases leveled at EF4 strength, trees were debarked and cars thrown, while in downtown Duncan hundreds of businesses were obliterated with vehicles thrown against the buildings and floors collapsed one on the other. Heading northeast, more residential areas were completely obliterated by the quickly growing tornado with homes leveled at high end EF4 strength while just northeast of town an entire forest along with a couple of farms was devastated as all the trees were either snapped or downed and debarked. South of Lake Humphreys, the tornado continued to cause EF4 damage to trees, with extreme debarking and throwing of plants along with reducing wooden power poles to splinters. The twister then passed over the south portion of Clear Creek Lake, throwing structures in the water and continuing to down and debark trees; here, three trailers, boats and outbuildings were found wrapped around trees and two cars were buried under trees after being left completely irrecognizable. Tracking southeast of the small community of Bray, the tornado started to become rain wrapped as it downed metal power trusses and reached a diameter of three quarters of a mile and locally more. As it passed between the communities of Bailey and Purdy, the tornado struck several oil derricks along with oil tanks; the derricks were all destroyed, one was thrown and another was left irrecognizable while the tanks were either picked up and thrown or destroyed. Heavy debarking of trees and ground scouring was noted in the area as well. A nearby oil rafinery to the northeast was completely leveled as metal structures were twisted and mangled before being thrown in the fields around, all the buildings were swept clean and cars and 18-wheelers were tossed a few tens of yards around. Heading towards Lindsay, the twister demolished a couple more oil derriks along with a few farm buildings and continued to cause tree debarking and ground scouring. Before entering the city, the tornado narrowly missed the Erin Springs community to the west, stripping all the crops from farmland and destroying three more derricks. After that, the city of Lindsay took a direct hit like the city of Duncan at high end EF4 force. Lindsay Elementary and High were spared by the tornado but hundreds of homes were either destroyed or leveled, the weaker ones were swept clean from the foundations, cars were mangled beyond recognition, trees were almost completely debarked and power poles were reduced to splinters. In the downtown area, several businesses were devastated. Griffith Park was scoured, the baseball fields were destroyed and filled up with debris and two cars and all the poles in the area were downed at their bases. To the northeast the tornado started to weaken as it approached more oil derricks and a airfield; there, two farms were destroyed, one with a windmill mangled and moved a few yards, and an oil derrick was downed. The tornado finally dissipated before reaching the Payne community.
The tornado remained on the ground for just under 50 miles, making this the longest lived tornado of the day and the most destructive, with over a billion dollars in damage. Overall, 14 people were killed, half of them in the mobile home park hit in Duncan, and 198 more were injuried. In Lindsay, a rare Tornado Emergency saved many people since nobody in town saw the tornado approaching as it was completely rain wrapped. The rating is disputed by experts. In fact, the tornado is officialy rated as a very high end EF4 but many people say that it likely reached EF5 intensity due to the extreme nature of the tree debarking and the very deep ground scouring in rural areas. Enviromental damage persisted for months after oil from tanks, derricks and the rafinery was spilled in the air, fields and forests by the twister.
The last strong tornado in Oklahoma occurred as the last batch of supercells tracked over the Oklahoma City Metro. The tornado touched down as a stovepipe on the western edge of the town of Goldsby and caused heavy damage to several homes. Many houses suffered significant roof damage and in a northern residential area a few of them got their roofs completely ripped off at EF2 strength. An RV was destroyed and power lines were downed on streets as well while trees were snapped. The growing tornado crossed the Canadian River a couple miles north of David Jay Perry Airport missing the Riverwind Casino and a small subdivision. After that, the twister directly entered Norman at the Trails Golf Club of Norman, damaging Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and missing by a couple of blocks the University of Oklahoma South Campus but impacting at full EF3 force on the university itself. Many homes in the area were completely destroyed, cars were lofted and thrown, trees were snapped at mid heigh and the university suffered very heavy damage, with many of the libraries, dorms and other main buildings destroyed or severely damaged; cars in parking lots were flipped and thrown one on the other, sport fields were destroyed as was the stadium and three students were killed while many others were injuried. The tornado then tracked over Kiwanis Park and a commercial and industrial area just east of downtown Norman, where a mall, two restaurants and many surrounding homes were demolished, cars were once again thrown around two metal power trusses were downed. Numerous industrial buildings were obliterated and several 18-wheelers were tossed against factories. A Walmart Supercenter in the area was severely damaged as well.
Moving northeast, the twister impacted on Norman Veterans Center, destroying parts of the buildings and tossing debris and small structures in surrounding small lakes before leaving Norman and track over open country. The tornado jogged more to the north-northeast and headed towards Lake Stanley Draper as a large wedge tornado while hitting rural homes, farms, forests and fields. In many areas, tree debarking and grass scouring was noted, metal power trusses and power poles were downed, mobile homes were obliterated and cars were thrown. After passing over the lake, the tornado started to weaken as it slowed down and exited the body of water before dissipating north of a power plant.
This tornado became the worst twister in Norman's history, being the only one to ever hit the University of Oklahoma and killing students there. The National Weather Service in Norman was forced to seek shelter as the tornado tracked just a few miles to the southeast of the building. Baseball size hail severely damaged the radar dome at the NWS as the supercell passed over the city and RFD winds knocked out the power to the office as power lines were downed south of there, putting the responsability for warnings on Tulsa's NWS, much like happened in a 1974 outbreak. Overall, the tornado, rated EF3, stayed on the ground for 20 miles, killed three people and injuried 29 more, 26 of them at the university buildings.
Saint Louis - Indianapolis Tornado
Main article: 2025 Saint Louis - Indianapolis Tornado
Paducah - Louisville Tornado
Main article: 2025 Paducah - Louisville Tornado
Evansville - Cincinnati Tornado
Main article: 2025 Evansville - Cincinnati Tornado
Nashville Suburbs Tornado
Another long tracked tornado developed in central Tennessee and touched down southwest of downtown Dickson, in the middle of a forested area. From there, the tornado raced eastward at 60 mph, striking the southern sections of town, causing high end EF2 damage to a subdivison first and a few industries after. In the Dickson area, hundreds of trees were either downed or snapped, a few homes completely lost their roofs and industrial buildings were heavily damaged, with two 18-wheelers tossed on the roof of a factory; power poles and trusses were toppled as well. The tornado tracked over the nearby small community of Burns, where EF3 damage occurred as many homes were completely destroyed, cars were tossed and mobile homes were obliterated. The steel frame of a trailer was found wrapped around a tree while an RV and an outbuilding were picked up and thrown in a forest. Heavy tree and power line damage occurred also, as trees were twisted and power poles were snapped in half and tossed. After destroying four more homes in a rural subdivision east of town, the twister started tracking over forests, although a metal power truss was downed and mangled at the top. As it approached Interstate 40, the tornado destroyed several rural homes, threw numerous outbuildings against trees, downed hundreds of trees onto other homes and tossed small plants around. Crossing I-40, an 18-wheeler was picked up by the twister and tossed against some trees while a house and two other buildings were destroyed, with a car and a trailer thrown in the pool of the house. Then the tornado continued to down trees and destroy rural homes as well as two more metal power trusses and then entered the southern suburbs of Nashville between Bellevue and Pasquo, where hundreds of homes were struck: several of them were completely destroyed, cars were tossed and trees were snapped at mid heigh and partially debarked while outbuildings and a few mobile homes were obliterated. Ensworth High School campus was hit as well and there numerous cars were flipped or tossed and buildings lost their entire roofs along with a couple of walls, all the windows and sidings.
Jogging slightly to the northeast, the tornado passed right over the Forest Hills neighbourhood, were the heaviest damaged occurred. In fact, here numerous homes were almost leveled, trees were debarked and cars tossed along with outbuildings. Other homes were buried under hundreds of trees and Percy Priest Elementary School was completely demolished at almost EF4 strength. The twister continued its run over the south Nashville suburbs as it tracked over Radnor Lake and devastated the surrounding park before crossing Interstate 65, destroying hundreds of stuctures on the north side of Brenwood and in the Antioch community, missing Nashville International Airport to the south. There, homes were once again completely destroyed, apartment complexes demolished, Antioch Middle School was left completely without roof, cars were tossed against buildings, businesses were devastated and power trusses and hundreds of trees downed. Then, the tornado destroyed a Walmart Supercenter by throwing cars against the mall along with tens of more homes and then entered the Long Hunter State Park and Percy Priest Lake where it reduced the forests on Ponderosa Island and nearby Mousetail and Hunter islands to flat terrain. Finally, the tornado exited the Nashville suburbs crossing Interstate 840 between the town of Gladeville and a industrial area while still downing hundreds of trees and power poles. From there, the twister weakened to an EF2 while running along Highway 265 as it destroyed a couple of roofs and three mobile homes and then crossed Highway 26 northwest of Watertown, missing the community but destroying a few farms north of there while strengthening back to an EF3. Finally, the tornado dissipated after slowing down northeast of Watertown and causing light damage to one last forest.
After a just under 80 miles long path, the tornado dissipated. Behind it, the twister left 18 deaths and 127 injuries, making this one of the strongest and deadliest tornadoes in the Nashville area. A massive amount of trees were downed, with estimated numbers talking about over 20000 trees downed, thousands of structures were affected and overall damage reached 800 million dollars. Scientists said it was a miracle that the tornado passed south of Nashville, otherwise the death toll could have been much more tragic, like the ones to the north near the Ohio River. In Nashville itself, hail and falling debris caused almost 400 million dollars in damage to skycrapers, cars and industries. The damage path was rated very high end EF3, with possible spikes up to EF4 in a couple of spots.
Reform - Calera Tornado
The last violent tornado of the outbreak touched down before sunset southeast of Ethelsville, Alabama and started moving towards the east-southeast. The tornado started downing hundreds of trees while passing between the McShan community and Highway 82 heading right towards Reform. The twister tracked over the northern part of town, north of downtown, causing widespread EF2 to EF3 damage as many homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. Trees around town were snapped at mid heigh, cars were tossed, power lines downed and hangars at the North Pickens County Airport were almost leveled completely. A small plane was tossed in a forest ot the east as well. Continuing to the southeast, the tornado tracked over forested areas where hundreds of trees were downed, rural homes and barns destroyed and a metal power truss was bent in half; the tornado missed the town of Gordo to the north while destroying a couple of farms before hitting the community of Echola, where eight metal sheds were completely leveled and two cars were thrown in the middle of the forest. Paralleling Highway 82, the twister tracked over the southern part of the Lake Lurleen State Park where it destroyed, debarked, snapped in half and downed hundreds of trees. From there, the tornado entered the Northport-Tuscaloosa area destroying hundreds of homes between the neighbourhoods of Wood Estates and Wood Ridge. In Wood Estates homes were demolished, trees snapped in half, power poles tossed in backyards and cars thrown, while in Wood Ridge homes were leveled at EF4 strength and many businesses along McFarland Boulevard were demolished, a couple of cars were found wrapped around trees and a power truss was downed on destroyed homes.
The tornado then crossed the William Bacon Oliver River into Tuscaloosa throwing debris into the water and passing right in front of the University of Alabama campus, striking directly the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art and tracking where the April 27th, 2011 tornado passed over the Westview neighbourhood, leveling more homes at EF4 intensity. More cars were thrown and trees either snapped in half and debarked or destroyed. In the same area, mobile homes were obliterated and the Alberta Church of God was completely destroyed while a nearby apartment complex, destroyed by the 2011 EF4 as well, lost half of its roof. Jogging to the south, the tornado crossed University Boulevard into the University of Alabama Arboretum, damaging the nearby Tuscaloosa Veterans Medical Center and reducing the arboretum itself to a flat zone as all of the trees were downed. The tornado then tracked south of downtown Cottondale while destroying more homes and businesses at EF4 intensity and crossing Interstate 59-20 where an 18-wheeler and three cars were picked up and thrown. From there, the tornado tracked over mainly rural areas, downing hundreds of trees, destroying three oil derricks and demolishing a couple of homes south of Coaling. The twister continued to race east-southeasterly towards West Blockton as it carved a very distinguishible path through forests as thousands of trees were downed on hills and in valleys. Two metal power trusses of two different transmission lines were downed and rural abandoned structures were swept clean. West Blockton suffered a direct hit at EF4 strength as tens of homes were completely obliterated, cars were thrown and trees completely debarked; large debris such as roofs and walls, along with a couple of cars, were thrown into the forest to the east or demolished and thrown up into the supercell, to be later found more than 50 miles away. Continuing almost due-east, the tornado raced through forests leaving a corridor of downed trees up and down of hills along with demolished oil derricks and downed metal trusses before striking Montevallo at full force. Before entering the city, the tornado weakened slightly to EF3 as it destroyed a couple of farms and a small subdivision to then re-strengthen back to an EF4. In Montevallo, the sport fields on the west side were scoured and all the structures were either destroyed or leveled based off the construction materials (outbuildings and other small structures were leveled or even tossed while the main buildings were heavily damaged but not leveled). Most of the fatalities of the tornado occurred here, since it struck as a baseball match was happening. The University of Montevallo suffered EF1 to EF2 damage as it was on the northern side of the tornado while many houses in the path of the center were completely obliterated. Montevallo High School suffered EF3 damage losing the last floor and another sport field to the east was scoured with three trailers wrapped around the downed light poles of the field. Continuing to the east, the twister missed a big industrial complex in the Roberta community. Paralleling Highway 25, the tornado then entered the Calera area demolishing the train station. Several train carts were picked up and thrown in the residential areas of Calera to the south while businesses and other buildings were destroyed in downtown Calera. From there, the tornado weakened back to an EF3 while leaving Calera tracking over Interstate 65, where a cars was thrown in a ditch. The tornado caused EF3 damage to a subdivision east of the city and then continued in rural areas as it weakened and dissipated to the southwest of Columbiana and northwest of Shelby.
The tornado remained on the ground for almost 100 miles making this one of the longest tracked tornadoes ever in Alabama. 21 people were killed by the tornado, many of them in Montevallo due to the baseball game, and 420 more were injuried. Economical losses reached the billion dollars due to the tornado itself and damage caused by surrounding falling debris. The National Weather Service in Shelby County suffered damage because of the inflow first (which reached 80 mph) and the falling debris from the nearby tornado, which tracked about 6.5 miles south of the airport and NWS. The tornado was rated as a high end EF4 and reached a maximum width of 1.1 miles. In terms of intensity, many experts suggest that this twister was just as strong as the 2011 EF4 and therefore could have reached EF5 strength somewhere.