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Enterprise hit by F3 tornado, NWS says

MONTGOMERY (AP) —The tornado that left nine dead at Enterprise, including eight students crushed in a hallway when a wall and roof were blown down at Enterprise High School, was an F3 with a path 200 yards wide and 10 miles long, the National Weather Service said.

The twister at Millers Ferry in Wilcox County, where one died and about 40 homes were destroyed, also was an F3. Weather officials said its track was 15.6 miles long, with its widest width about 500 yards.

Under the new Fujita scale, an F3 is a tornado with winds of 136-165 mph and capable of tearing down walls. It is in the mid-range between the weakest F1 and most destructive F5.

The NWS office in Birmingham reported Tuesday that its preliminary findings show an F3 tornado moved into Dallas County, with its most concentrated impact near Five Points where 27 homes were damaged.

F2 twisters also hit state

Elsewhere in Alabama, the Birmingham office said F2 tornadoes touched down in Lowndes and Montgomery counties, Monroe County, on the Lee-Russell line at Phenix City and in Winston County. F1 twisters were reported in Barbour, Fayette, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson and Shelby counties.

The largest hail — the size of baseballs — was reported north of Tuscaloosa.

The tornado at Enterprise in Coffee County struck at 1:10 p.m. CST, according to findings of the NWS in Tallahassee, Fla., which monitors southeast Alabama.

The tornado at Millers Ferry first touched down at 12:30 p.m. CST, according to the weather agency's Mobile office, which handles southwest Alabama.

The NWS office in Huntsville did not find any tornado touchdowns in its Tennessee Valley region of the state in its preliminary report.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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