“From late in the night on March 2 into the early morning hours on March 3, several supercell thunderstorms spawned numerous tornadoes across southeast Missouri, southern Kentucky, Tennessee, and central Alabama. One of these supercells formed near the Mississippi River in West Tennessee, then tracked eastward across the entire length of the state spawning numerous tornadoes and dropping large hail up to the size of baseballs in some areas. The worst of these tornadoes touched down across Middle Tennessee during the early morning hours of March 3, 2020, resulting in widespread damage, hundreds of injuries and 25 fatalities (Cookeville). These tornadoes were the worst seen in Tennessee since the devastating tornadoes of April 27, 2011 across East Tennessee, as well as the Super Tuesday tornadoes on February 5-6, 2008,” NWS Nashville.
An inversion was in place a year ago this evening which would have suppressed any severe weather that could have developed. However, as the night went along the atmosphere underwent some dramatic changes and gradually became conducive for severe storms. Very conducive, in fact. Unfortunately, many residents were in bed by then, with no way of getting word that things had taken a turn for the worse.
This event reiterated the importance of a NOAA weather radio. Make sure you have one and make sure it has battery back-up.
This one supercell thunderstorm developed near the Mississippi River and tracked the full length of our state, spawning nearly a dozen tornadoes. This is why you sometimes here me say, “It only takes one storm for this to be a big deal.” Ten tornadoes from one storm….. unreal.
The supercell would cross northern Cumberland County, spawning a powerful EF-2 tornado that mainly affected the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area.
As bad as that night was, it could have been magnitudes worse. The Cookeville tornado lifted just before hitting the hospital and downtown Cookeville. Imagine an EF-4 barreling though the heart of the city! Another blessing from that night is that the Rinnie tornado touched down just seconds after crossing over more populated areas of the community. There is little room for doubt that Rinnie would have suffered loss of life that night, had the twister that raged through Catoosa shown that same rage across Rinnie. I shutter to think…..
Let’s take a moment to remember the lives lost and hurt that night. Covid hit hard just after the tornadoes of this night and so many people then seemed to forget what our neighbors were going through. Take a moment tonight to remember. Take a moment to be grateful and thankful.
Finally, take a moment to review your severe weather safety plan.