Selma, AL F3 Tornado – December 6, 1983

SPC Stats:

Path length: 13 miles

Width:  500 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  19

Rating:  F3

County:  Dallas

During the early morning of December 6, 1983, an F3 tornado crossed through parts of Dallas County, AL in the Selma Area.  It developed near Alabama Highway 22 west of Selma and moved northeastward for 13 miles.  At least 103 structures were damaged/destroyed along the path.  30-40 vehicles at a new car dealership were destroyed.

Numerous units at The Rangedale Housing Project in Selma were demolished.  There was 1 fatality here.  Clarence Chappell was asleep when the tornado hit.  Here is the report from the Alabama Journal on December 7, 1983:

Wed, Dec 7, 1983 – 2 · Alabama Journal (Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

A dormitory at Selma University was struck by the twister.  50 students were occupying the dorm at the time.  7 students received minor injuries when the roof and parts of the second floor of their dorm was destroyed.  Near the university, West Side Junior High School sustained damaged as well as several homes and a convenience store.

Tue, Dec 6, 1983 – 1 · Alabama Journal (Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

 

Storm Data Entry

One person was killed and 19 others were injured by a tornado.  The tornado apparently first touched down near Alabama Highway 22 just west of Selma and moved northeastward.  The fatality occurred when the brick and concrete block wall of an apartment caved in on the couch where the victim was apparently sleeping. Seven students at Selma University received minor injuries when the roof and parts of the second floor of their dormitory was destroyed.  The dormitory was occupied by 50 students when the storm hit.  The other injuries apparently occurred to occupants of mobile homes and homes that were damaged or destroyed.  Damage was very extensive along the tornado’s path.  At least 103 structures were damaged or destroyed.  In addition to extensive damage to the apartment complex and Selma University, a new car dealership suffered extensive damage to buildings and some 30 to 40 vehicles destroyed.

Tornado Path

Click map to enlarge.

SPC coordinates:  Start: 32.40 / -87.07      End: 32.55 / -86.90

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Sources:

The Storm Prediction Center

NCDC Storm Events Database

December 1983 Storm Data Publication

newspapers.com

Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1252.