Shortly after midnight on Tuesday March 3rd, residents of Nashville were alerted of a tornado on the ground, moving east towards downtown. Within minutes, the first reports of damages started filtering in to emergency services. The tornado caught many unaware as it tore through Nashville, following a path eerily similar to two historic tornadoes that struck the city in 1933 and 1998. The devastating EF-3 winds demolished at least 48 buildings, knocked out power to more than 50,000 homes, caused 150 injuries, and 2 people were killed by flying debris.
Putnam County was the Hardest Hit.
The Nashville tornado was one of several that spawned from the severe storms that swept across central Tennessee. The most devastating tornado of the outbreak, touched down between the cities of Cookeville and Baxter in Putnam County. Out of the 24 people that perished due to Tuesday’s tornadoes, 18 of those lived in Putnam county. Early in the recovery period, 77 additional people were reported as missing, but thankfully first responders have been able to reduce this the number to 38. Rescue efforts and damage assessments are ongoing so it will be a few days before the true impact of these storms are confirmed.
An Early Start to Tornado Related Weather
The 2020 tornado related weather started early. 90 tornadoes were reported in January, killing 7 people. In February 51 tornadoes were reported with one 3 day outbreak spawning at least 37 tornadoes across the southeastern U.S. The website ustornadoes.com released their spring outlook, which predicts above average tornado activity for the first time in recent years.
Accuweather is forecasting March to be especially active with more than double the average 75 tornadoes for the month. Tornadoes were responsible for 41 fatalities in 2019. Already this year, 32 have perished.