I posted this on Facebook but I’ll share it here, as well. We’ve had a historical weather event in our region, but it’s not one to celebrate.
The Putnam County tornado has now been rated EF-4. This is the most violent tornado in the NWS Nashville forecast area since 2009. Putnam County hasn’t seen a tornado this strong since April, 3, 1974. In fact, there hasn’t been a tornado this violent in our entire region since that 1974 outbreak.
This is only the fifth F-4 tornado to have ever hit the Upper Cumberlands. The other four include were the F-4 tornado of 1933 in Overton County (35 lives lost north of Livingston). The other three F-4s occurred in the same tornado outbreak on April 3, 1974. That was the Super Outbreak that hit 13 states with 148 tornadoes. The Upper Cumberlands were hit especially hard during that outbreak.
Those storms on April 3, 1974 claimed 22 lives across the entire Upper Cumberland Region. Fentress County lost 7 lives, Pickett lost 5 and then Putnam lost 10.
Putnam County has never lost more than 10 people to tornadoes. The storm this week has (so far) claimed 18 lives in that county. Three people are still missing and some people have very serious injuries.
We also now know that this storm produced a tornado that was on the ground for 50.25 miles across Davidson, Wilson, and Smith Counties. The average tornado is on the ground for about five miles.