An EF-1 tornado hit an area of northwest Birmingham early this morning, officials with the National Weather Service confirm.
The tornado reached speeds between 80 and 90 mph and hit sometime between 4:40 a.m. and 4:50 a.m., NWS official Jim Stefkovich said. NWS says that the tornado's path was 1.05 miles long and 250 yards wide at its widest point.
Stefkovich said no watches or warnings were issued because a tornado signature never showed up on the radar.
Several homeowners are now cleaning up after the small tornado severely damaged their neighborhood.
The area, located around the Finley Avenue area, suffered damage to buildings, downed trees and downed power lines. Insulation has been seen stuck in the trees and roofing shingles and other debris are strewn across lawns.
Homeowner Clint Thornton says he saw what he believed to be a tornado around 4:45 a.m. on Monday morning as he prepared to leave his home for work.
"I turned the key to go out the door. I could see the funnel and all kinds of debris. It was heading right toward our house," said Thornton.
Thornton was able to get to safety in a closet with his wife.
"We went into the closet and started calling on Jesus," said Thornton. "We just praise God for our lives."
Thornton says all of the windows in his home were broken except for one kitchen window and he says his roof is collapsing. Luckily, Thornton says he managed to salvage wedding photos and his marriage license.
"These material things don't mean anything," a very thankful Thornton said.
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