Tornado outbreak of January 12, 2023
|Duration||January 12, 2023|
|Max. rating1||EF3 tornado|
|15 hours, 24 minutes|
|Largest hail||2 in (5.1 cm) in Elm Park, Arkansas on January 11|
|Fatalities||8 fatalities (+1 indirect), 53 injuries|
|Areas affected||Southeastern United States|
Part of the tornado outbreaks of 2023
1Most severe tornado damage; see Enhanced Fujita scale
2Time from first tornado to last tornado
An early-season tornado outbreak impacted the Southeastern United States on January 12, 2023, the result of a mid-level trough moving through, with moisture and the presence of a strong low-level jet aiding in the development of multiple severe thunderstorms. A strong EF2 tornado caused considerable damage in Winston County, Alabama, while another EF2 tornado struck Greensboro. A destructive high-end EF2 tornado struck Selma, causing widespread damage. The same storm produced a long-lived EF3 tornado that moved through Old Kingston, Titus, Equality, and Lake Martin, resulting in seven fatalities and several injuries in Autauga County alone. Another EF2 tornado from the storm struck Five Points, Stroud, and Standing Rock before crossing into Georgia. After the dissipation of that tornado, seven more tornadoes, four of which were strong, caused heavy damage across west-central Georgia, especially in LaGrange, Griffin, and Experiment, the latter two of which were struck by an EF3 tornado. Another EF2 tornado from the storm caused major damage and another fatality in the Jackson Lake area as well; an indirect death from the tornado also occurred the following day. Elsewhere, other tornadoes caused damage in Sumter and Mobile counties in Alabama, as well as parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and the Carolinas. In all, 39 tornadoes were confirmed.
On January 11, the Storm Prediction Center outlined a level 1/Marginal risk across the Mid-South valid for the overnight and early morning hours. Although the environment was initially capped, conditions were expected to become more conducive for severe weather given the approach of a mid-level trough and a gradually moistening airmass. A more substantive threat for organized severe weather evolved on January 12, when the organization issued a level 3/Enhanced risk centered along central and eastern Alabama and northwestern portions of Georgia. Here, numerical weather prediction models indicated the presence of 6.5 C/km mid-level lapse rates and 500-1000 J/kg convective available potential energy (CAPE) values supportive of transient supercells and bowing segments. As such, a large 5% risk for tornadoes was introduced for most of the lower Tennessee Valley, including portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, southern Tennessee, and northwestern South Carolina.
As the day advanced, a more focused corridor for enhanced tornado potential became evident across central Alabama and northwestern Georgia, where effective storm-relative helicity – a measure of the potential for updrafts in supercells – topped 300 m2/s2 and CAPE values rose into the 1,000-1,500 J/kg range. Despite these favorable parameters, the possibility for strong tornadoes, above EF2 intensity, was not included in this outlook. However, as the morning advanced, a defined line of severe thunderstorms with embedded supercell structures and multiple discrete supercells developed across the highlighted area. Multiple tornadoes, some of which were significant, touched down and caused extensive damage. Numerous PDS tornado warnings were issued for the towns of Heiberger, Selma, and Movico in Alabama as large and destructive tornadoes were reported. The same storm that hit Selma prompted tornado emergencies for Autauga, Elmore, Chilton, Coosa, and Tallapoosa counties before crossing the Alabama–Georgia border to continue northeast into Georgia. As the event unfolded, the SPC introduced a 10% hatched risk for tornadoes in their 20:00 UTC outlook across east-central Alabama and western Georgia. The long-tracked supercell (originating in Louisiana) that produced the Selma tornado, as well as the deadly Autauga County tornado, produced more tornadoes as it progressed to the northeast; these included one that crossed from Chambers County, Alabama into Troup County, Georgia, another that caused severe damage to the city of LaGrange, and one that caused further damage in Griffin. In total, the National Weather Service issued 221 severe thunderstorm warnings, 68 tornado warnings, and three tornado emergencies during the severe weather outbreak.
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January 12 event
|EF#||Location||County / Parish||State||Start Coord.||Time (UTC)||Path length||Max width||Summary|
|EF1||SE of Monkey's Eyebrow, KY to W of Joppa, IL||Ballard (KY), McCracken (KY), Massac (IL)||KY, IL||08:03–08:10||6.7 mi (10.8 km)||200 yd (180 m)||Roofing and siding were ripped from a few homes, and multiple metal roof panels were blown off two large barns by this low-end EF1 tornado. A church sustained damage to its fencing, and the top half of a clay tile silo was destroyed.|
|EF1||S of Muldon||Monroe||MS||12:29–12:33||2.44 mi (3.93 km)||50 yd (46 m)||A home had its porch removed, several windows broken, and a substantial portion of its roof removed. An adjacent, large workshop was demolished. Two power poles were snapped.|
|EF1||Northern Pleasureville||Henry||KY||13:47–13:49||1.27 mi (2.04 km)||100 yd (91 m)||A brief high-end EF1 tornado caused significant damage or destroyed several barns. In northern Pleasureville, some homes sustained significant roof damage. A mobile home suffered similar damage and was also moved from its concrete foundational blocks. Power lines were damaged, and trees were snapped or uprooted.|
|EF1||N of Rose Hill to Northern Harrodsburg||Mercer||KY||14:01–14:05||3.6 mi (5.8 km)||80 yd (73 m)||One barn was demolished, with its roofing material thrown 200 yards (180 m) downstream, while a second barn sustained significant roof and side panel damage. Two homes also sustained significant roof and gutter damage; pieces of roofing were impaled into the ground. Two bleachers were flipped at Kenneth D. King Middle School. Numerous trees were snapped, topped, or twisted.|
|EF2||E of Delmar to N of Double Springs||Winston||AL||14:05–14:18||9.18 mi (14.77 km)||425 yd (389 m)||A strong tornado destroyed two large chicken coops and three other small buildings on a farm. Five homes were damaged, an RV was overturned, and hundreds of trees were downed.|
|EF1||Moulton to Western Decatur to NNW of Mooresville||Lawrence, Morgan, Limestone||AL||14:09–14:45||30.4 mi (48.9 km)||325 yd (297 m)||This long-tracked tornado began over a ridge, causing widespread tree damage. Several residences along the track sustained roof damage. One home in particular had an associated large metal workshop almost completely destroyed. In downtown Moulton, damage occurred to the city's high school baseball fields, as well as to Lawrence Medical Center. The tornado lifted at times while tracking through Morgan County. It caused occasional damage to the roof of a mobile home, power lines, and a law enforcement marina. Several large campers were flipped or displaced. After crossing the Tennessee River, it caused additional damage to the campus of Calhoun Community College and its baseball complex before lifting. One person was injured.|
|EF1||NE of Danville||Boyle||KY||14:10–14:11||0.84 mi (1.35 km)||125 yd (114 m)||A large, well-built garage sustained significant damage to its roof and side wall, with debris thrown 150 yards (140 m) to the east and impaled into the ground. Another well-built barn lost several of its roof panels. Many trees were topped, snapped, or uprooted. Widespread straight-line wind damage occurred on either side of the tornado.|
|EF0||NW of Williamstown||Grant||KY||14:23–14:24||0.3 mi (0.48 km)||50 yd (46 m)||Part of the roof was ripped off a house by this high-end EF0 tornado. A street sign was bent to the ground, and several trees were downed. A steel warehouse building had part of its roof lifted and damaged, and two door frames on opposite sides of the building were blown in.|
|EF2||Emelle to S of Gainesville||Sumter||AL||15:24–15:40||12.87 mi (20.71 km)||440 yd (400 m)||This strong tornado touched down just west of Emelle before moving eastward through the town. An outbuilding was destroyed, and several homes suffered roof damage, including one home that had its roof completely ripped off, which was the basis for the EF2 rating along with the destroyed outbuilding. Elsewhere along the path, a mobile home and a grain bin were destroyed. Dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted as well. One person was injured.|
|EF1||NE of Richmond||Madison||KY||15:42–15:45||1.2 mi (1.9 km)||80 yd (73 m)||A hay barn was severely damaged with damage also being inflicted to a chicken coop and dog run, and the roofs of houses. A travel trailer was lifted and tossed over a red sports car, which resulted in the travel trailer being flipped on its side and rotated 90 degrees from its original orientation. Many trees were damaged as well.|
|EF2||Western Eutaw to Stewart to SSE of Duncanville||Greene, Hale, Tuscaloosa, Bibb||AL||15:54–16:43||38.76 mi (62.38 km)||600 yd (550 m)||This long-lived tornado (which came from the same storm that produced the EF2 Emelle tornado) first destroyed a shed, caused roof damage, and snapped and uprooted trees. It then moved through the northern portions of the town of Eutaw at EF1 strength, snapping and uprooting numerous trees and inflicting minor roof damage to several homes. A rooftop observation deck was taken off of one home and thrown across the street. The tornado continued east-northeast along the Black Warrior River and struck Oak Village. A home in the area was significantly damaged when its garage collapsed, pulling down the adjacent walls and tearing off a large portion of the roof, with most of debris being blown into the river; this damage was rated low-end EF2. Other structures were also damaged, and many trees were snapped or uprooted. The tornado then weakened significantly, causing only intermittent tree damage as it passed near Stewart and over SR 69 before reintensifying slightly as it entered the Talladega National Forest. After crossing into Tuscaloosa County, the tornado rapidly intensified to its peak intensity of high-end EF2, snapping or uprooting dozens of trees, many of which were snapped at their base in the center of the tornado's path. The tornado then weakened as it approached and then crossed US 82. Additional tree damage was observed, and two homes suffered minor structural damage before the tornado dissipated. The path of the tornado moved over the entire track of an EF1 tornado that struck the same area on November 29, 2022, as well as an EF3 tornado that passed through the Talladega National Forest on March 25, 2021.|
|EF0||SSW of Decatur||Meigs||TN||16:50–16:51||0.57 mi (0.92 km)||150 yd (140 m)||A brief, weak tornado embedded within an area of damaging straight-line winds uprooted trees and inflicted considerable roof damage to multiple homes. One person was injured.|
|EF2||SSE of Forkland to Southern Greensboro to SW of Marion||Hale, Perry||AL||16:47–17:15||21.22 mi (34.15 km)||500 yd (460 m)||This tornado first touched down near the Greene-Hale County line before moving across County Road 35 and downing numerous trees. It then caused considerable damage to the roof of a house before intensifying to low-end EF2 strength as it approached southern Greensboro. It uprooted numerous trees, rolled and destroyed a single-wide manufactured home, and caused lighter damage to several other structures. The tornado then weakened as it moved into Perry County, causing to high-end EF0 to low-end EF1 strength damage before dissipating shortly after.|
|EF1||NNE of Heiberger to NNW of Lawley||Perry, Bibb||AL||17:30–17:51||16.8 mi (27.0 km)||500 yd (460 m)||After the previous tornado dissipated, the supercell produced this tornado soon after. It reached EF1 intensity as it snapped and uprooted trees along a ridge. As it neared SR 219 after crossing into Bibb County, it weakened before dissipating after it crossed US 82.|
|EF2||NE of Orrville to Selma to SE of Burnsville||Dallas||AL||18:04–18:31||22.72 mi (36.56 km)||950 yd (870 m)||See section on this tornado – Two people were injured.|
|EF0||SW of Dandridge||Jefferson||TN||18:14–18:15||0.42 mi (0.68 km)||30 yd (27 m)||A brief, weak tornado caused minor tree damage.|
|EF2||SSE of Citronelle to Movico||Mobile||AL||18:15–18:33||11.4 mi (18.3 km)||200 yd (180 m)||Two mobile homes were completely destroyed, and hundreds of trees were downed.|
|EF0||E of Baneberry||Jefferson||TN||18:26–18:28||1.1 mi (1.8 km)||100 yd (91 m)||Trees and power lines were downed.|
|EF3||SW of Old Kingston to Equality to E of Penton||Autauga, Elmore, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Chambers||AL||18:40–20:08||82.31 mi (132.47 km)||1,500 yd (1,400 m)||7 deaths – See section on this tornado – 16 people were injured.|
|EF0||E of Nymph||Conecuh||AL||19:54–19:55||0.94 mi (1.51 km)||100 yd (91 m)||Several trees were uprooted, and several tree limbs were downed.|
|EF2||SW of Five Points, AL to NW of LaGrange||Chambers (AL), Troup (GA)||AL, GA||20:08–20:24||20.9 mi (33.6 km)||1,600 yd (1,500 m)||This large and strong tornado touched down as the long-tracked EF3 tornado was dissipating and moved northeastward from White Plains into Five Points. Along this segment of the path, many trees were snapped and uprooted and barns sustained roof damage. Northeast of Five Points, the tornado widened and strengthened, snapping and uprooting a large swath of trees and causing roof damage to a house just south of Standing Rock. It then destroyed a mobile home, blowing the debris downwind. The tornado then reached EF2 intensity as it neared West Point Lake along the state line. A couple homes suffered significant shingle damage, one had siding damage, and a mobile home had its porch ripped off, impacting its walls. Another mobile home was blown off its footings and destroyed. After crossing into Georgia, the tornado steadily weakened inflicting damage to trees and some shingles and gutters of a few homes. The tornado continued east through mostly wooded areas, inflicting damage to pine trees before the tornado dissipated.|
|EF1||SSW of Mableton||Cobb||GA||20:30–20:33||1.5 mi (2.4 km)||150 yd (140 m)||A high-end EF1 tornado quickly spun up within a line of severe storms in the western suburbs of Atlanta. An 18 Wheeler Truck Parts & Chrome building lost a portion of its exterior wall. Dozens of trees were knocked down onto homes, which sustained severe roof and structural damage.|
|EF2||Southern LaGrange to Mountville||Troup||GA||20:34–20:47||12.3 mi (19.8 km)||1,060 yd (970 m)||A large and strong tornado (which formed after the West Point Lake EF2 tornado dissipated) severely damaged a large warehouse building, destroying about a quarter of the structure and stretching or ripping several metal anchor bolts out of the concrete pad. More than 30 homes sustained significant damage in southern LaGrange, with large portions of their roofs or upper floors destroyed. Numerous trees were snapped or uprooted, including in the town of Mountville. Four people were injured.|
|EF2||NE of Mountville to Alps to SW of Zetella||Meriwether, Spalding, Pike||GA||20:45–21:17||27.6 mi (44.4 km)||1,500 yd (1,400 m)||This large, long-tracked tornado touched down as the previous EF2 tornado was dissipating. A double-wide mobile home had its roof blown off and was shifted 20 yards (18 m) off its foundation, breaking the structure in half, while two single-wide mobile home were completely obliterated. A home had its entire roof blown off and a large, recently constructed two-story barn was destroyed. Thousands of trees were blown down and several homes were damaged or destroyed by some of the downed trees.|
|EF1||WNW of Pine Level||Crenshaw||AL||20:46–20:47||0.36 mi (0.58 km)||80 yd (73 m)||A brief tornado snapped or uprooted dozens of trees.|
|EF3||W of Hollonville to Experiment to NNE of Locust Grove||Pike, Spalding, Henry||GA||21:11–21:44||31.9 mi (51.3 km)||See section on this tornado – 18 people were injured.|
|EF1||Mayfield to Camak to W of Thomson||Warren, McDuffie||GA||21:15–21:39||16.4 mi (26.4 km)||150 yd (140 m)||A couple of homes sustained roof and fascia damage from this high-end EF1 tornado. A metal work shed, and outdoor kitchen were destroyed. Numerous healthy pine trees were snapped or uprooted, one of which fell onto a house.|
|EF1||SW of Experiment||Spalding||GA||21:19–21:22||3.7 mi (6.0 km)||200 yd (180 m)||This tornado formed as a satellite on the northwest side of the larger Experiment EF3 tornado near the Pike–Spalding county line. Many trees were either snapped or uprooted along the path before the tornado was absorbed by the EF3 tornado to its southeast. As the tornado circulation came together with the other circulation, the intensity of the larger tornado peaked, resulting in EF3 damage southwest of Experiment.|
|EF2||ESE of East Griffin to Jenkinsburg to S of Mansfield||Spalding, Butts, Newton, Jasper||GA||21:27–22:01||31.98 mi (51.47 km)||1,400 yd (1,300 m)||1 death – See section on this tornado – 10 people were injured.|
|EF1||NE of Ariton to Blue Springs||Barbour||AL||21:25–21:38||10.96 mi (17.64 km)||900 yd (820 m)||A large tornado damaged hundreds of trees, including one that fell on a home. Farm structures were damaged as well.|
|EF1||SSW of Jenkinsburg||Butts||GA||21:35–21:38||5.16 mi (8.30 km)||150 yd (140 m)||This low-end EF1 tornado was on the ground simultaneously with the EF3 Experiment tornado and the EF2 Jenkinsburg tornado. It formed south of SR 16 before crossing I-75 and tracking along SR 16 for the rest of its path. A large warehouse had sections of its roof torn off and thrown northeastward into the parking lot and nearby woods and many trees were snapped or uprooted.|
|EF0||NE of Pisgah||Jackson||AL||21:38–21:41||2.34 mi (3.77 km)||70 yd (64 m)||A brief and weak tornado caused roof damage to a farm building and a home. Trees were uprooted.|
|EF1||W of Edwin to N of Lawrenceville||Henry||AL||21:45–21:56||7.14 mi (11.49 km)||150 yd (140 m)||A low-end EF1 tornado inflicted heavy roof and structural damage to several barns and outbuildings and removed some shingles from a home. Many trees were downed as well.|
|EF1||NE of Jenkinsburg to Worthville to Stewart||Butts, Newton||GA||21:49–21:57||9.93 mi (15.98 km)||500 yd (460 m)||This tornado formed from the remnant circulation of the EF3 Experiment tornado and tracked just to the west of the EF2 Jenkinsburg tornado. A barn was destroyed, a car wash was partially unroofed, and a greenhouse and a few homes were damaged. Many trees were snapped and uprooted along the path as well.|
|EF1||Joanna to W of Whitmire||Laurens||SC||22:42–22:52||8.98 mi (14.45 km)||100 yd (91 m)||A weak tornado touched down in Joanna, damaging a car wash and fire station garage door. Northeast of town, the tornado strengthened to EF1 strength, snapping or uprooting numerous trees, including some that fell on houses. The tornado then knocked down some more large trees as it crossed SC 72 before dissipating in the Sumter National Forest.|
|EF1||E of Pineview (1st tornado)||Wilcox||GA||23:00–23:05||3.1 mi (5.0 km)||100 yd (91 m)||This tornado struck a homestead. Several large trees were uprooted, a silo was moved and twisted off its foundation straining several metal bracers, a barn and two sheds were destroyed, and the home suffered moderate structural damage with several structural pillars and columns displaced. The tornado, which was accompanied by the tornado below, moved into inaccessible areas and dissipated.|
|EF0||E of Pineview (2nd tornado)||Wilcox||GA||23:03–23:07||2.3 mi (3.7 km)||200 yd (180 m)||This tornado was a northern twin to the tornado above. Dozens of trees were snapped along the path before the tornado moved into inaccessible areas and dissipated.|
|EF0||Southern Stanley||Gaston||NC||23:10–23:18||6.09 mi (9.80 km)||25 yd (23 m)||A weak tornado caused scattered tree damage along its path.|
|EF1||N of Greenwood||Greenwood||SC||23:24–23:27||2.03 mi (3.27 km)||90 yd (82 m)||Many trees were downed in neighborhoods near and at the Greenwood County Airport. Some trees fell on homes, two of which were significantly damaged.|
This destructive high-end EF2 tornado caused major damage in the city of Selma. The tornado first touched just northeast of Orrville near the intersection of SR 22 and County Road 999 at 12:04 p.m. CST (18:04 UTC). Moving northeastward along SR 22, the tornado damaged several mobile homes and pushed them off their foundations. A frame home sustained minor damage, some trees and power poles were downed in this area as well, and damage along this initial segment of the path was rated EF1. EF1 damage continued as the tornado impacted Beloit, where a church had its steeple and part of its roof blown off, homes sustained roof damage, and trees were snapped. After causing additional tree damage along SR 22, the tornado began to rapidly intensify as it approached the southwestern city limits of Selma, and many large hardwood and softwood trees were snapped at EF2 intensity in this area. The now strong tornado then crossed SR 219 as it entered the southwest side of Selma, causing significant damage along Old Orville Road. Multiple houses were heavily damaged and had their roofs torn off along this corridor, and a few sustained some loss of exterior walls. Severe tree damage occurred as well, as many large trees were snapped or uprooted in residential areas. Reaching high-end EF2 strength, the tornado struck the Crosspoint Christian Daycare along Cooper Drive, inflicting severe structural damage to the building, which sustained collapse of its roof and several brick exterior walls. At the time of the tornado, 70 children were inside the daycare along with staff workers. One baby received a minor cut from the tornado, with no other injuries occurring at that location. The nearby Crosspoint Christian Church had a substantial amount of metal roofing torn off, and debris was scattered throughout the area. EF2 damage continued beyond this point as the tornado moved northeastward along West Dallas Avenue, inflicting significant structural damage to homes. An ophthalmologist office near Office Park Circle was severely damaged and had much of its roof torn off, while many large trees were snapped or uprooted, some of which landed on houses.
Further to the northeast, high-end EF2 damage occurred at the Selma Country Club, where the clubhouse building suffered major damage to its roof and exterior walls, a few other buildings on the property also had extensive damage, several extremely large hardwood trees were blown down, and many softwood trees were snapped. Maintaining high-end EF2 intensity, the tornado then struck the northern part of downtown Selma. Damage here mainly consisted of numerous of trees being snapped or uprooted, some of which fell on homes, and many homes and other buildings that had their roofs and some exterior walls removed. A couple of older residences that were built on brick piling foundations collapsed, cars were flipped, signs were destroyed, and numerous power poles were snapped. The historic Reformed Presbyterian Church was badly damaged, and its adjacent church school was almost completely destroyed. As the tornado crossed over Broad St (US 80/SR 22), a strip mall had much of its roof torn off, and a nearby metal warehouse building sustained major damage, with metal framing being twisted and failure of x-braces observed. Apartment buildings were also badly damaged, and debris from structures was strewn across streets, or left tangled in power lines or wrapped around trees. Past the downtown area, the tornado weakened slightly to mid-range EF2 strength as it crossed Marie Foster Street and moved through neighborhoods in the northeastern part of Selma, where many homes and apartment buildings had roofs and exterior walls torn off, and many trees and power lines were downed. Crossing SR 41, the tornado moved out of Selma and maintained EF2 intensity as it moved to the northeast, though damage in this area was limited to downed trees. As it crossed SR 14, an outbuilding was completely destroyed and a metal free-standing pole was bent to the ground, with damage in this area being rated EF2. Some re-intensification was observed as the tornado then impacted a small residential area along Parkway Drive, where a few houses had roofs torn off with some collapse of exterior walls noted. Another outbuilding in this area was completley destroyed, trees were downed, and damage was rated high-end EF2. Just past this area, the tornado weakened to EF1 strength as it impacted a FEMA trailer storage facility along Selfield Road, where multiple unanchored trailers were damaged, flipped, or destroyed. A final area of EF2 damage occurred nearby, where the Dallas County Jail suffered extensive damage to its roof and fencing. Weakening back to EF1 intensity, the tornado then crossed SR 14 again, snapping trees and damaging some outbuildings. The tornado weakened further as it passed south of Manila, causing minor EF0 tree damage along this segment of the path. It inflicted EF0 damage to a house and dissipated as it crossed SR 140 to the southeast of Burnsville at 12:31 p.m. CST (18:31 UTC), just before reaching the Autauga County line. The tornado was on the ground for 22.72 mi (36.56 km), resulting in two injuries.
Old Kingston–Titus–Equality–Lake Martin–Penton, Alabama
A long-tracked and intense EF3 tornado began in Autauga County, Alabama, nine minutes after the Selma EF2 tornado dissipated. The large multiple-vortex tornado prompted the issuance of three tornado emergencies just north of areas struck by tornadoes 10 days earlier. The tornado first touched down near Independence at 12:40 p.m. CST (18:40 UTC). It initially only caused very minor EF0 tree limb damage as it moved northeastward through sparsely-populated areas. After crossing US 82, the tornado quickly intensified to EF1 strength as it moved northeastward along County Road 40, heavily damaging a home, rolling a shed across the road, and causing tree damage. Continuing northeastward into the Old Kingston community, the tornado rapidly intensified to EF3 strength as it crossed County Road 43. Several mobile homes were obliterated and swept away, with debris being scattered long distances across fields. A frame from one mobile home was thrown 250 yards (230 m) into an open field. The tornado threw multiple vehicles, tossing one truck 120 yards (110 m) through the air and leaving a crater where it impacted the ground. Many large trees were snapped and denuded as well, with some debarked observed. Just to the northeast, the tornado crossed Sandy Ridge Road, where numerous double-wide and single-wide mobile homes were completely obliterated, more vehicles were tossed, and many trees were shredded and partially debarked. Five people were killed in this area in different manufactured homes that were swept away. EF3 damage continued just northeast of this area, as a large metal power pole was bent to the ground near County Road 21. Two nearby frame homes had much of their roofs torn off, with the damage to those residences rated EF2. Next encountering County Road 140, EF3 damage continued as more mobile homes were completely swept away. The contents of at least four homes were blown over 100 yards (91 m) to the north, leaving only empty foundations behind. Two more fatalities occurred in separate homes that were obliterated. The tornado continued to throw vehicles considerable distances, including one pickup truck that had its cab separated from the bed, while many trees were snapped or sheared off. This included entire stands of pine trees that were mowed down east of County Road 140 and along County Road 42. Based on the damage scene and contextual evidence, it was acknowledged that the tornado may have had stronger winds here. However, as the only structures that were destroyed in this area were mobile homes, the highest rating that could be applied was mid-range EF3. 
Beyond this point, the tornado maintained low-end EF3 intensity as it moved northeastward, snapping and debarking dozens of hardwood trees. A two-story home on the west side of County Road 57 had much of its second floor destroyed, with multiple exterior walls knocked down on both the first and second floors. The tornado weakened slightly to high-end EF2 intensity after crossing the road, tearing the roofs off of two site-built homes and destroying a large outbuilding structure. A few other homes were damaged to a lesser degree in this area, and large trees were snapped. After downing additional trees, the tornado continued at high-end EF2 strength as it crossed over County Road 62. A house in this area sustained major structural damage, losing its roof and some exterior walls, with several walls from the central part of the house being destroyed and strewn into the back yard. A nearby mobile home was destroyed at high-end EF1 strength, and some other site-built homes sustained less severe damage. The tornado then briefly weakened to high-end EF1 intensity, with damage being limited to downed trees, but reached EF2 intensity again and grew in size as it crossed I-65 and US 31 in the Pine Level community south of Marbury. Several homes sustained roof damage, outbuildings were damaged or destroyed, a mobile home was rolled off its foundation and destroyed, and numerous trees were snapped or uprooted in this area. Continuing to the northeast, the tornado produced additional EF2 damage as it moved through the Pine Flat community. Multiple site-built homes had their roofs partially or completely removed, and a mobile home was swept away and destroyed. The Wadsworth Baptist Church, housed in a large metal building, sustained considerable damage as well. Additional EF2 damage continued beyond Pine Flat as a house had its roof torn off and another home sustained roof and exterior wall loss. Numerous trees were snapped or uprooted in this area, and two mobile homes were destroyed.
Continuing at EF2 strength, the tornado crossed into northwestern Elmore County and passed near Lightwood, where more homes were mostly or entirely unroofed, mobile homes were destroyed, and many trees were downed. The tornado briefly weakened to EF1 strength as it crossed the Coosa River, downing multiple trees in a wooded area before it reached EF2 intensity again north of Titus, snapping countless pine trees and unroofing another home as it crossed County Road 29 and Grays Ferry Road. The tornado again weakened to EF1 intensity, downing more trees as it crossed into Coosa County. The tornado then re-intensified back to EF2 strength as it crossed over US 231, snapping many large trees and inflicting heavy roof damage to a home along County Road 304. Just past this point, the tornado rapidly intensified again as it approached Equality, and a large swath of trees was completely mowed down along McKissick Road. All trees in the center of the path were snapped close to their bases, and some debarking was noted. This area of intense tree damage was given a low-end EF3 rating. The tornado then widened as it continued northeastward, causing EF2-level tree damage before strengthening back to EF3 intensity along County Roads 14 and 18 northwest of Equality. Several vehicles were moved or flipped, numerous trees were snapped, and site-built homes sustained major damage, including a poorly anchored house that was completely leveled.
The tornado then quickly narrowed and weakened back to EF1 intensity as it crossed over SR 9 to the north of Equality, where a mobile home and a site-built home suffered roof damage. The tornado continued into Tallapoosa County as it maintained EF1 strength. Damage along this portion of the path was almost entirely limited to downed trees, though at least one home sustained minor roof damage. The tornado then caused additional EF1 damage as it moved through Wind Creek State Park and over Elkahatchee Creeek just south of Alexander City, snapping more trees before re-strengthening back to EF2 intensity as it crossed the Tallapoosa River along the north side of Lake Martin near the US 280 bridge. Many homes were damaged at this location, including several that had their roofs ripped off, and a few that had some loss of exterior walls as well. Boat houses were also destroyed, and dozens of large hardwood trees were snapped and uprooted. The heavy damage in this area was partly attributed to the tornado's interaction with the lake surface, as well as the exposed nature of the homes, since most of the structures inland seemed to be "sheltered" by adjacent heavily wooded areas. This was also the last area of EF2 damage from the tornado. After crossing US 280 near Sturdivant, the tornado weakened significantly to EF0 strength, snapping tree branches and uprooting softwood trees. South of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near Sessions, the tornado reached EF1 intensity again, snapping or uprooting several trees, damaging outbuildings, and inflicting minor damage to homes. The tornado then weakened back to EF0 intensity, inflicting minor damage to trees and mobile homes several miles south of Daviston, before restrengthening back to EF1 intensity for the last time as it moved into Chambers County, snapping or uprooting several trees. The tornado then weakened to high-end EF0 strength south of Union Hill. It continued to inflict minor damage to outbuildings and downed more trees before striking Penton, where some EF0 tree damage occurred. The tornado then dissipated just east of Penton, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west-northwest of White Plains at 2:08 p.m. CST (20:08 UTC) after traveling 82.31 miles (132.47 km). A total of seven people were killed by this tornado, and at least 16 others were injured. Another EF2 tornado formed immediately just a few miles to the southeast, at White Plains, moving northeast through Five Points before crossing the state line into Georgia.
Hollonville–Griffin–Experiment–Locust Grove, Georgia
This large, intense rain-wrapped tornado touched down just a mile west of the community of Hollonville in Pike County along SR 362 at 4:11 p.m. EST (21:11 UTC). After causing EF0 tree and roof damage at the beginning of its path, the tornado strengthened to EF1 intensity as it continued to the northeast, snapping and uprooting numerous trees. A couple of homes had roof shingle damage, an RV camper was tipped over, and some outbuildings were destroyed in this area as well. A small area of EF2 damage was noted along Bethany Road, where large trees were snapped and some structures were severely damaged. EF1 tree and structure damage occurred beyond this point as the tornado approached and crossed into Spalding County, before reaching EF2 strength once again as it crossed West Williamson Road. Trees were snapped, an outbuilding was completely destroyed, and a house was heavily damaged in this area. The tornado then crossed Rover-Zatella Road, widening dramatically as it weakened back to EF1 strength once again. Around this time, a small low-end EF1 satellite tornado that had formed along the northern flank of this tornado began to merge with the larger circulation. A combination of the main tornado, the satellite tornado, and rear-flank downdraft winds produced a nearly 2 mi (3.2 km)-wide swath of wind damage to trees and homes in this vicinity. The merging tornadoes then continued northeast for a few miles before the satellite was fully absorbed into the larger tornado in a subdivision along Kendall Drive, located at the west edge of Griffin. At the point where the two tornadoes fully merged, the main tornado produced a small area of EF3 damage, with several homes either heavily damaged or completely destroyed in the subdivision. This included two poorly anchored homes that were leveled and swept off their foundations. A resident inside one of the homes took shelter in a bathtub which, along with all the plumbing, was ripped off the foundation and thrown into nearby woods, though he was not injured. Intense tree damage was also noted in this area, and winds were estimated to have reached 150 mph (240 km/h). The tornado then weakened to EF2 strength and crossed SR 16 as it moved through residential areas in the western part of Griffin. Many trees were downed, and homes in neighborhoods in The Club at Shoal Creek area and along North Pine Hill Drive sustained EF1 to EF2 damage. Maintaining its strength, the tornado then moved into Experiment, an unincorporated community located on the north side of Griffin near the University of Georgia campus.
Multiple homes and some businesses in Experiment suffered extensive damage, with the damage in this area being rated EF1 to EF2. Many power lines and trees were downed, and several large trees fell onto homes, causing major structural damage. A Hobby Lobby had a large portion of its roof torn off, and also sustained partial collapse of masonry exterior walls on the northeast side of the building. Debris was strewn throughout the area, and multiple vehicles were flipped and tossed. Damage to the Hobby Lobby building was rated high-end EF2, with winds estimated at 130 mph (210 km/h). The UGA campus suffered EF0 damage, and a weather station in the area recorded a 73.9 mph (118.9 km/h) wind gust as the storm passed by, while another at the UGA Dempsey Farm recorded a wind gust of 81.1 mph (130.5 km/h) before the anemometer instrument blew off the tower. To the northeast of Experiment, the tornado produced high-end EF1 damage as it moved through the northeastern fringes of Griffin, downing many trees and inflicting moderate to severe damage to homes and other structures near East McIntosh Road. Damage then became less severe and more sporadic as the tornado exited the Griffin area, and the damage path narrowed as it crossed North McDonough Road and Amelia Road. The tornado continued at EF1 intensity as it moved into Henry County. Crossing I-75, the tornado strengthened back to high-end EF1 intensity as it struck two neighborhoods on the south side of Locust Grove. Numerous homes were damaged by tornadic winds or falling trees in this area. The tornado crossed over US 23 and entered neighborhoods in the eastern part of Locust Grove, where more trees were downed and additional homes were damaged. The tornado exited Locust Grove and continued to the northeast, causing more EF1 damage along Peeksville Road before weakening to EF0 strength as it crossed Wolf Creek Road. The damage path of the tornado became less defined and dissipated near Collins Way at 4:44 p.m. EST (21:44 UTC). Based on damage assessments, approximately 1,465 homes were affected in the city of Griffin and 754 were affected in the rest of Spalding County, with at least 250 that sustained major damage or were destroyed. The tornado was on the ground for a total of 31.9 mi (51.3 km) and injured 18 people.
East Griffin–Jenkinsburg–Jackson Lake, Georgia
This large and strong tornado was spawned by a secondary circulation within the same parent supercell that produced the EF3 Experiment tornado to its north, paralleling the path of the stronger tornado. It first touched down just southeast of East Griffin in Spalding County at 4:27 pm EST (21:27 UTC) and moved northeastward. It immediately reached EF1 strength and first snapped or uprooted multiple trees along Crouch Road and Wild Plum Road before striking a Rinnai Corporation building, damaging the roof and exterior walls, and blowing out several windows. The tornado then quickly intensified to high-end EF2 intensity as it crossed SR 16, and a well-built home in this area had severe roof and structural damage, while many large trees were snapped or uprooted as well. As the tornado continued northeastward, it weakened back to EF1 intensity, downing numerous trees as it approached I-75. As it crossed I-75, the tornado became the dominant circulation within the parent supercell as the EF3 Experiment tornado to the north began to occlude and weaken. As a result, its wind field grew in size as the tornado moved into Butts County, producing high-end EF1 to low-end EF2 damage near Dean Patrick Road and England Chapel Road, as numerous trees were snapped or uprooted in this area. Maintaining its strength, the tornado continued to the northeast and inflicted considerable damage to several homes along Shiloah Road, Plaza Drive, and Smith Drive. The tornado then impacted Jenkinsburg, where trees were downed and a large warehouse building was significantly damaged along US 23. The roof and exterior walls of the structure were severely damaged, with debris strewn across the roadway. Adjacent to the highway on the Norfolk Southern Railway line, three rail cars on a train were derailed. Damage in the area was rated high-end EF1 to low-end EF2. The tornado then weakened to EF1 strength as it continued to the northeast of town. The Experiment EF3 tornado to its north then dissipated at 4:44 p.m. EST (21:44 UTC), but another tornado, rated EF1, quickly formed from the remnant circulation five minutes later and paralleled this tornado for nearly 10 miles (16 km) to the Jackson Lake area. The damage paths of the two tornadoes were right next to each other at times, and covered a combined width of 2.5 miles (4.0 km). As this tornado passed south of Worthville, it quickly intensified back to EF2 strength, causing widespread significant damage to trees and homes in several neighborhoods along SR 36 west of Jackson Lake. One tree fell on a car on Haley Road, killing the passenger and critically injuring the driver. Maintaining EF2 intensity, the tornado then moved through the southern part Newton County and caused additional major damage to houses in several neighborhoods along the shore of Jackson Lake, both west of and along SR 212. The EF1 tornado to the north of this tornado then dissipated after the latter had entered Jasper County at 4:57 p.m. EST (21:57 UTC). This tornado then caused intermittent EF1 to low-end EF2 damage after crossing the county line. The Bear Creek Marina and several campers were destroyed along this segment of the path. The tornado then became weak, damaging more trees at EF0 intensity as it approached and crossed SR 11, before dissipating near Margery Lake at 5:01 pm EST (22:01 UTC). The tornado was on the ground for 31.98 mi (51.47 km). In addition to the fatality, ten other people were injured. An indirect fatality was attributed to this tornado the following day when a state transportation worker was knocked out of a bucket truck by a falling tree limbs while trying to restore powerlines after the storm in Jasper County.
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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency in Autauga, Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore and Tallapoosa counties, as did Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for the whole state. These declarations were followed on January 15 by a major disaster declaration in Alabama by President Biden, making federal funds available to victims of the storms (as well as affected local governments, organizations, and businesses) in Autauga and Dallas counties.
At least nine fatalities resulted, eight of which were direct. Seven occurred in mobile homes in Old Kingston, Alabama from an EF3 tornado; the other occurred in Butts County, Georgia when an EF2 tornado knocked a tree down on a car, killing a five-year old passenger and critically injuring the parent driving. This tornado was also responsible for an indirect fatality the following day when a lineman was knocked out of a bucket truck after being struck by a large tree branch while attempting to restore powerlines in Jasper County. A Georgia Department of Transportation worker was killed in the aftermath of the storm. Multiple injuries also occurred. An Alabama state trooper was hospitalized when his patrol vehicle was struck by a falling tree.
In anticipation of severe weather, multiple school districts closed early in Alabama and Georgia. The University of Georgia's Griffin campus closed because of damage to buildings and trees on campus from an EF3 tornado.
Approximately 37,000 people in Alabama and more than 78,000 in Georgia were without power by the evening of January 12, figures which included but were not limited to severe weather outages.
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Source: "Tornado outbreak of January 12, 2023", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 30th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_outbreak_of_January_12,_2023.
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2011 Super Outbreak
Tornado outbreak of March 2–3, 2012
Late December 2012 North American storm complex
2013 Hattiesburg, Mississippi tornado
Tornado outbreak of February 23–24, 2016
Tornadoes of 2017
Tornado outbreak of January 21–23, 2017
Tornado outbreak of March 3, 2019
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2020 Easter tornado outbreak
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2019 Beauregard tornado
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Tornado outbreak of December 10–11, 2021
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- "Great storm-centered timelapse of Thursday's prolific tornado-producing supercell which lasted from Louisiana to Georgia. @JoshJohnsWx @BradNitzWSB @spann". Twitter. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
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- Spann, James. "This is Crosspoint Christian Daycare in Selma hit by the tornado today. Approximately 70 children from six weeks to five years were inside when the tornado struck. One baby had a small cut on her cheek and forehead; nothing serious… No other injuries. Photos from Amanda McCloud". Twitter. @Spann.
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- "Autauga Sheriff's Office Confirms Seven Deaths following Strong Tornado". Elmore-Autauga News. January 14, 2023. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
- West, Jordan; Forbes, Alex (January 13, 2023). "NWS confirms an EF-3 tornado in Griffin Thursday night". WMAZ-TV. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
- "President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Alabama Disaster Declaration". The White House. January 15, 2023. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
- "At least 7 dead after storms and tornado ripped through Alabama and Georgia". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
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- James Spann [@spann] (January 12, 2023). "From ALEA: At approximately 1:35 today a Trooper was injured after the his patrol vehicle was struck by a falling tree on Elkahatchee Road near Wind Creek State Park. The Trooper was transported to a local area hospital for medical treatment and is currently recovering" (Tweet). Retrieved January 12, 2023 – via Twitter.
- Koplowitz, Howard; Crain, Trisha Powell; Gore, Leada; Dunkins, Kalyn (January 11, 2023). "School closings, early dismissals for Alabama's severe weather on Thursday, Jan. 12". AL.com. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
- McGouirk, Brandon (January 12, 2023). "Many Middle Georgia schools closing early in anticipation of severe weather". WGXA. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
- University of Georgia Griffin Campus [@UGAGriffin] (January 12, 2023). "With significant damage to many large trees and several buildings on campus, UGA Griffin will be closed tomorrow, January 13, to all but essential personnel" (Tweet). Retrieved January 12, 2023 – via Twitter.
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