Remembering February 21st

I thought I’d share some interesting weather history for our area for February 21st.

First of all, many of you remember what happened five years ago this morning. That was when you woke up to a horrific ice storm that would later be labeled (and appropriately so) the most devastating natural disaster to ever strike the county. The damage was unparalleled by anything else we had ever seen, including some powerful tornadoes we’ve had in the past.

Contrast that with the record high of 76 degrees that we had only two years ago today.

As I’ve said so many times, you can get anything around here this time of year. Which brings me to my next memory….

On this day in 1993 we had a scary weather day. Supercells developed from southern Ohio down through Mississippi that Sunday afternoon. One supercell spawned a powerful F-3 tornado in Putnam County. The twister began in the southwest part of the county and lifted just south of Cookeville and just southeast of the I-40 and Highway 111 intersection. The very visible tornado was even seen from Tennessee Tech’s campus at one point!

That tornado damaged and destroyed numerous homes, especially on Burgess Falls Road. Nine people were injured.

Another supercell spawned an F-0 that touched down just south of I-40 and just east of Crossville. That tornado tracked to Crab Orchard, nearly parallel to the interstate the whole time. No one was injured but several trees were damaged.

Some of you may recall that Lenoir City and Tellico Plains were very hard hit by powerful tornadoes in this outbreak.

The 1992-1993 fall and winter seasons were odd. We picked up around an inch of snow on Halloween 1992. That was unusual, to say the least. But, then the weather turned rather mild for much of November, December, and January. It was even mild going into February and right up to the tornadoes of February 21st.

Then, temperatures dropped and returned to more winter-like levels. After a couple of smaller snows to end out February, we moved on into March, which was also cooler than average.

Just three weeks after the tornadoes, the Blizzard of ’93 struck. Homes that had been damaged by tornadoes had tarps on their roofs. They soon discovered that tarps were no match for a couple feet of snow. The weight of the snow was too much for the tarps and they collapsed into the homes. What a mess.

That blizzard covered the plateau with one to two feet of snow and drifts that were double, triple, even quadruple that deep. It was a storm to remember. Being March, temps quickly recovered in the week following the blizzard. The worst of the blizzard hit on a Saturday and by the next Wednesday we were back in the mid to upper 50s for highs.

So, while that winter will long be remembered as one of the worst and snowiest the plateau has ever seen, it didn’t really get started until the second half of February.

With long-range outlooks forecasting below-normal temperatures for the next several weeks, one can’t help but wonder what March will bring. For those of us who remember the Blizzard of ’93 very well, we will forever look to March with wonder.

March gets its name from Mars, the Roman god of war. Kinda seems appropriate for the battle of the change of seasons that takes place in that month.

It’s too early yet to tell if March will come in like a lion or lamb. We just need to make sure we don’t forget that spring isn’t here yet. We’ve still got some winter left to go and sometimes the best winter storms come at winter’s end.

Come what may I’ll be tracking it all. It’s kinda what I do, ya know?  🙂

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