4-27-11 Tornado Fatalities

4-27-11 RibbonApril 27, 2011, will be a red-letter day in the city and state’s history books for many years to come. 62 tornadoes spun their way across the state, killing 247 people, injuring at least 1,500 in Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties alone. The system produced catastrophic damage in many other cities and towns across North and Central Alabama as well. While many continue to mourn the loss of family and neighbors, some may soon forget the devastation this storm system left behind. May we always remember this day and work to make Tuscaloosa County safer than before.


In Tuscaloosa County, a total of 51 fatalities were recorded from the tornado. 41 of the decedents were from just three communities: Rosedale, Alberta, and Holt. Over one-third of the total fatalities were over the age of 60. By jurisdiction, there were 34 deaths in the City of Tuscaloosa, 16 in Tuscaloosa Police Jurisdiction (mostly in the Holt area), and one in the area of Brookwood.


[caption id="attachment_386" align="alignright" width="300"]Aerial photo of the devastation of The Rosedale Court housing community in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Thursday, April 28, 2011. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton) Aerial photo of the devastation of The Rosedale Court housing community in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Thursday, April 28, 2011. (Source: AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton)[/caption]

11 people lost their lives in the Rosedale community. Nine of those were at the Rosedale Court housing development on 10th Avenue.


Alberta was the hardest-hit community in terms of deaths, where 16 people perished. Nine of the 16 deaths were directly from the tornado, but the remaining seven people resided in the LaRocca Nursing Home. The nursing home took a direct hit from the tornado and was not rebuilt. These seven people passed away several days following the storm from complications attributed from the storm. 


14 people passed away in Holt along areas of Crescent Ridge Road. Four people were killed in their homes on Crescent Lane, while three were also killed in their homes on Shaw Drive.


A July 2012 study conducted by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control reveals that 96.8% of the decedents across Alabama were attributed to trauma, most likely from flying debris or a structural collapse. Approximately 54% of the decedents in the state were in a single-family home, 18% were in an apartment or business, 21% were in a mobile home, and 2% were outside. However, 39% of the bodies recovered were inside a single-family home, and 39% of the bodies were found outside. In the study, according to NBC News, the CDC interviewed 120 people, and 105 were aware that the tornado was coming. However, maximum peak winds in the Tuscaloosa tornado were estimated at 190 mph resulting in desolation of many structures directly in its path.


Map of Tuscaloosa fatalities from the April 27, 2011, tornado