The tornado touched down just before 1:00PM CDT near the Black Warrior River in southern Tuscaloosa County and proceeded northeastward for 18 miles (28.8 km) across the communities of Englewood, Hinton Place, Hillcrest Meadows, Bear Creek and Woodland Forest before lifting near Cottondale east of Tuscaloosa near Interstate 20. At its peak intensity, the tornado was about 750 yards wide. The worst damage was located near the Bear Creek area where F4 damage occurred. Near I-20, several commercial buildings including hotels and restaurants were heavily damaged and a shopping center near Route 69 was also hit and partially destroyed. Damage was estimated at over $12 million US (2000 dollars). Over 40 houses and 70 mobile homes were completely destroyed with hundreds more seriously damaged.
It was one of the deadliest tornadoes to hit the state since the Birmingham F5 tornado that killed 32 across portions of Jefferson County on April 8, 1998. That tornado started just northeast of Tuscaloosa during the evening hours demolishing numerous structures south and west of the Birmingham metro area.
The 2000 Tuscaloosa tornado was part of a supercell thunderstorm that developed across Mississippi before traveling through western Alabama, then near the Birmingham region before dropping more tornadoes in St. Clair and Etowah counties. Additional tornadoes were confirmed northwest of Birmingham and Jasper.
|All deaths were tornado-related|
The tornado was also captured live on the ABC affiliate WBMA 33-40 in Birmingham during a special severe weather bulletin with meteorologists James Spann and Mark Prater. The tornado was caught by the station's tower cam located in downtown Tuscaloosa. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave Spann an Emmy Award for the event. The tornado was followed from Englewood to just near its passage south of downtown Tuscaloosa when the reception was lost due to a torrential downpour.
Additional tornadoes were reported during the day across the southeastern portion of the US, including in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. A total of 24 tornadoes were reported on December 16, 2000. One more person was killed by a tornado in Geneva County in southeastern Alabama.
|F#||Location||County||Time (EDT)||Path length||Damage|
|F2||NW of Geneva||Geneva||1034||4.5 miles (7.2 km)||1 death 100 homes were damaged and 5 mobile homes were destroyed including one with the fatality. 9 others were injured.|
|F2||N of Midland||Houston, Dale, Henry||1100||29 miles (46.4 km)||Several homes in Doe Run subdivision in Pinckard were destroyed. Several other homes and businesses were damaged to varying degrees as well as one church.|
|F1||NW of Wheeler Lake||Lawrence, Limestone||1225||5.1 miles (8.2 km)||Several outbuildings and boat houses were destroyed while three homes were damaged|
|F2||NW of Athens||Limestone||1238||4.8 miles (7.7 km)||Three mobile homes were destroyed and several homes were heavily damaged|
|F4||S of Tuscaloosa||Tuscaloosa||1254||18 miles (28.8 km)||11 deaths - Seen live on WCFT-TV tower camera. See this section|
|F0||SE of Marion||Perry||1329||0.7 mile (1.1 km)||Damage limited to trees|
|F2||S of Ashville||St. Clair||1420||8.5 miles (13.6 km)||Two mobile homes were destroyed and four homes were damaged|
|F3||NE of Gadsden||Etowah, Cherokee||1446||12.8 miles (20.5 km)||250 homes were damaged or destroyed and 14 people were injured|
|F0||S of Bynum||Calhoun||1517||0.3 mile (0.5 km)||Brief tornado with no damage|
|F0||SW of Deatsville||Autauga||1655||0.2 mile (0.32 km)||Brief tornado with no damage|
|F0||S of Tallassee||Macon||1746||0.7 mile (1.1 km)||Two outbuildings and two satellite dishes were destroyed while three homes had minor damage|
|F0||N of Roanoke||Randolph||1819||1 mile (1.6 km)||Damage limited to trees|
|F2||NE of Meridian||Lauderdale||1130||12 miles (19.2 km)||Two homes, three businesses and three mobile homes were destroyed while 44 homes, 34 mobile homes and one business were also damaged. 17 injuries were reported, including one critical.|
|F0||NE of Freeport||Walton||1255||0.2 mile (0.32 km)||Damage limited to trees|
|F2||SE of Bonifay||Holmes||1324||3 miles (4.8 km)||Four mobile homes were destroyed while 4 businesses and 39 homes were damaged|
|F1||SW of Campbellton||Jackson||1350||5 miles (8 km)||Damage to trees, carports and mobile homes|
|F1||NE of Ardmore||Lincoln||1308||1.5 miles (2.4 km)||One outbuilding was destroyed, one mobile home was heavily damaged and the roof of a cinder block garage was turned about 90 degrees|
|F2||N of Albany||Dougherty||1550||6 miles (9.6 km)||Abigail Plantation was heavily affected with several structures damaged while a few homes were also damaged. Storage buildings at a trailer park were also damaged|
|F2||SE of Americus||Sumter||2030||10 miles (16 km)||A frame house, three barns, several chicken houses and five outbuildings were destroyed. 400 chickens and two cattle were killed. One camper trailer was overturned and one home was damaged.|
|F2||S of Augusta||Richmond||2310||2 miles (3.2 km)||8 people were injured as the tornado did extensive damage to a subdivision south of Augusta|
|F0||NW of Calhoun Falls||Abbeville||2110||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||A satellite dish was torn off a house|
|F0||W of Spring Lake||Cumberland||2300||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||Brief tornado with no damage|
|F0||'''SW of Lillington||Harnett||2310||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||Some buildings had windows blown off.|
|F0||N of Coats||Harnett||2315||0.1 mile (0.16 km)||Damage limited to trees and smashed car windows|
|Sources: Storm Data, December 16, 2000 (Tornado History Project)|