Two short-lived tornadoes caused extensive damage in several Birmingham neighborhoods in the overnight hours of Dec. 9–10.
The National Weather Service in Birmingham confirmed the tornadoes after a preliminary investigation. An EF1 tornado with 100 mph winds struck in Homewood near Samford University. An EF1 tornado with 90 mph winds struck in Mountain Brook and Cahaba Heights, near Brookwood Mall.
Several homes were damaged by fallen trees. Power is still being restored in the area.
Neighborhoods in west Jefferson County also experienced high winds and storm damage, which extends from Bessemer to the Bluff Park area and through portions of Hoover, Vestavia Hills before intensifying in the Homewood and Mountain Brook neighborhoods, NWS reported.
The new evangelism center of the Dawson Evangelistic Association in the Wildwood area of Homewood was struck by the line of storms that passed through.”There is significant damage, and we are gathering information. There was no loss of life which is a tremendous blessing.
“The building is just brick and mortar without the Gospel of Jesus. This event is a reminder that everything here is temporary, and that’s the reason I’ve staked my faith on this Gospel and invested my career into what truly lasts.
“We appreciate your prayers for our team and ministry. This is a disappointing and surprising circumstance, but we know God is in control.
“We will repair the facility more equipped, our organization more determined, to reach this world for Christ.
Additional surveys are planned for Lee and Barbour counties. Weather service radar picked up indications of possible tornadoes in those areas. Tornado warnings also were in effect in Dale and Henry counties in southeast Alabama. Severe storms also struck in Middle Tennessee on Dec. 9.
An EF-3 tornado with winds of 150 mph hit Clarksville, Tennessee. A second confirmed tornado, an EF-2 with winds of 125 mph, struck northeast of Nashville, in the cities of Madison, Hendersonville and Gallatin. As a result of reported tornadoes north of Nashville, six people were confirmed dead — three in Clarksville and three in Madison.
At least one church — Cross Creek Baptist Church in Indian Mound, Tennessee — suffered major damage.
“Please lift our entire community in prayer as we enter into a season of transition and continue to ‘praise Him in this storm,’” the church’s Facebook page said.
Hendersonville took a direct hit, according to the Tennessean. A spokesperson for First Baptist Church Hendersonville said the church is grateful it was spared.
“The Lord was so good to us tonight. About 800 people were in the sanctuary for ‘Christmas In the Ville.’ The tornado went directly over the church, but everyone is safe! Thank you, Lord.”
Several nearby cities, Gallatin, Springfield and Cumberland Furnace, among others, also all suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service.
Responding to needs
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams are responding to needs in the area, and Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are likely to go to Tennessee in the coming days, according to Mark Wakefield, disaster relief strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, said he had been in contact with a lot of pastors in the area and was “very encouraged by a ‘can do’ compassion articulated by these brothers.”
“Past responses to difficult times would assure us that we will take care of each other through this event,” he told the Baptist and Reflector.
Davis said Tennessee Baptist DR “will show up, clean up and help rebuild in the days ahead.”
“I am thankful for the generosity of churches and brothers and sisters from across our state that allows us to respond immediately after the storms and be there for the long-haul of restoration,” he said.