Breaking News: Rinnie Tornado Upgraded to EF-2

The National Weather Service in Nashville has now upgraded the Rinnie tornado on March 3 from EF-1 to EF-2. The upgrade comes from additional analysis of satellite data (land scarring), as well as photographs I was able to take of the damage on Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. That wildlife management area was closed to the public in the days following the tornado, as part of their regularly scheduled closing to protect wildlife when hunting season is not open.


Catoosa opened for turkey hunters to scout on March 23. I was able to get over there the next Saturday and get some pictures. The damage was absolutely incredible and reminded me of the last EF-2 that hit the southern end of Rinnie in 2012. Many of us suspected the damage was bad, but even I was surprised by this level of timber damage.

Considering how fast the storm was moving, around 60 mph, this means the tornado strengthened into a strong tornado just seconds after leaving more populated areas of Rinnie. The core of the storm moved over Bear Creek Road, from the cell phone tower to points eastward. Had the tornado shown the same intensity in Rinnie as in Catoosa, there is no doubt in my mind that several homes would have been destroyed, with the likelihood of injuries/fatalities, especially considering this storm occurred at 2:30 in the morning. Let us all take the time to be thankful that we are studying tornado damage to trees, and not to homes.

Remarkably, debris from Baxter was found in both Rinnie and Clarkrange. A residence on Bear Creek Road found pictures, which were returned to the family they belonged to. One of the people in the pictures actually lost their life in the Baxter tornado. A Putnam County car title was found in Clarkrange. My uncle found a piece of vinyl siding on his farm right behind my house.

Damage from the Creason Place on Catoosa can be found in the pictures below, taken by me. Notice the phenomenal damage to the forested area. Based on this damage, wind estimates have now been risen to 115 mph, making this tornado an EF-2.


This severe weather event was quite remarkable in so many ways. Never before has the state experienced a tornado outbreak (defined as 6 or more tornadoes) from ONE supercell. The storm tracked from West TN to East TN, producing strong to violent tornadoes along it’s path. The 60-mile path length through the Nashville area is the longest tornado track in Middle TN history. This storm broke a lot of records, many of which we hope we never see broken again.

Pictured below are the tornadoes associated with the March 3 supercell. The EF-2 in Rinnie is yet to be added to this map. Interestingly, the EF-0 in southern Putnam County likely cut off the inflow into the Cookeville tornado, causing that violent tornado to suddenly lift, just before impacting Cookeville Regional Medical Center and downtown Cookeville.


Below is the official National Weather Service write-up on the Rinnie/Catoosa tornado.

“The tornado touched down near the intersection of Highway 127 and Atkins Road where trees were uprooted and one single wide mobile home sustained roof damage. The tornado moved northeast where it crossed Smith Road. Two outbuildings were destroyed, two houses sustained shingle damage, one power pole was pushed over, and approximately 20 trees were uprooted. The tornado then took an eastward track just south of Beaty Road where more trees were uprooted. Two more outbuildings were destroyed at the end of Beaty Road. The tornado continued east-southeast where trees were uprooted on Cool Springs Road. The tornado continued east-southeastward through the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area where thousands of additional trees were snapped and uprooted. The tornado reached maximum width and strength as it crossed Myatt Creek Rd and Turner Creek Rd in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. The tornado weakened as it approached the Morgan County border before lifting in Morgan County.”

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Baldwin’s Spring-like Wx Blog for Fri., April 3

Be sure to “Follow” the blog and get updated emailed straight to your inbox! Just find that “Follow” button in the lower right corner of  your screen. Thank you!

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Weather Headlines

Beautiful spring weather

Chances for showers and thunder return next week

Main threats

No hazardous weather is anticipated over this forecast period. Showers and storms next week look to stay below severe limits.


We are in for some pleasant weather! Make sure you get outside and enjoy it.

Don’t worry too much about that shower chance on Sunday. That is certainly nothing to cancel any outdoor plans over.

By Monday, our chances for a shower or storm creep up a bit, followed by a better chance on Tuesday. That is from a weakening cold front that will be moving through the area. Storms should stay below severe limits.

The second half of the week features more slight chances for showers and storms, as it looks right now. A stronger cold front by the weekend will bring better rain chances, followed by another cool shot of air and more than likely another frosty night or two.


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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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Wx Hazards Across the Nation

More wintry weather is expected up the middle of the country. Some of that ice and snow will fall as far south as Oklahoma! Strong to severe storms are possible on the warmer side of that system in southern Texas. Showers are expected in the Northeast, with that rain changing to snow in the mountains. Dry air and gusty winds will create a wildfire danger across the Carolinas today. Folks are advised not to burn outside. Meanwhile, another series of winter storms will be moving into the West Coast over the next 48-72 hours, bringing up to three feet of snow to the mountains of central and northern California.



On April 3, 1974 the Upper Cumberlands were struck by the worst tornado outbreak in our region’s recorded history. Across Middle TN, an unprecedented 24 tornadoes touch down, many of which were strong, some of which were violent. Fifty-four people are killed and 655 are injured. Across the nation, 148 tornadoes are recorded across 13 states.

A violent F-4 tornado struck Putnam County that evening, killing 10. This was the deadliest tornado in Putnam County’s history prior to last month’s tornado. The twister struck about six miles southeast of town.

Jamestown was also hit by a violent F-4 tornado that killed seven. This is the same supercell that had spawned the Cookeville tornado. The tornado flattened subdivisions on the southern side of Jamestown. Witnesses noted a large funnel with multiple vortices  on the ground approaching town from the southwest.

Incredibly, every county in the Upper Cumberlands experiences a strong or violent tornado. White, Putnam, Overton, Pickett, and Fentress Counties had an F-4 affect their county that day. Cumberland had an F-3 that barreled down Plateau Road, miraculously killing no one. Numerous homes were leveled.

Thanks to this outbreak, the NWS completely revamped its watch/warning program. NOAA weather radios became much more popular. Those radios were invented just 14 years earlier. Educating the public on what to do during a tornado became a top priority of the weather service, too. No doubt countless lives have been saved from these efforts.

This is an outbreak we hope to never see the likes of again!


This is a map of the tornado tracks across Middle TN and their intensity. Today, at least one of those red lines (F-4 tornadoes) across the Upper Cumberlands might have been rated EF-5. To date, only one F-5 has ever occurred in TN and that was in southern Middle TN on April 16, 1998. On the map, notice the number of F3s and F4s. Just absolutely remarkable.

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Friday Funny


NASA Knowledge

This 2010 image from the Herschel Space Observatory shows dust clouds associated with the Rosette Nebula, a stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the Monoceros, or Unicorn, constellation. Herschel collected the infrared light given out by dust. The bright smudges are dusty cocoons containing massive embryonic stars, which will grow up to 10 times the mass of our Sun. The small spots near the center of the image are lower mass stellar embryos. The nebula itself is located to the right of the picture, along with its massive cluster of stars. Isn’t that just an incredible sight!?



The American Meteorological Society is making all of its journals free through June! From the American Meteorological Society (AMS), “…As part of AMS’s response to COVID-19, currently all AMS journal articles are freely available, effective 25 March through 30 June 2020. We hope this may be helpful to researchers and students and others in our communities who may have challenges with their usual access methods, as well as helpful to the librarians who serve them.” The link to these articles can be found here:

Baldwin’s Clip-of-the-Day (New Section!)

This is a two-day water vapor satellite time-lapse of the big East Coast storm this week. For reference, find the Florida peninsula in the lower left of the screen. The yellow (drier air) is right over Cuba for much of the animation. For you meteorologists, the 500-mb pressure line is solid, while sea-level pressure is shown with dotted lines. (Video thanks to Bill Line (@bill_line)) (5)

You all have a great day!

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Baldwin’s Very Sunny Wx Blog for Thurs., Apr 2

Don’t forget to “Follow” the blog! Just find the “follow” button in the lower right corner of the screen. Then, you’ll get updates sent right to your inbox! That sure can come in handy during severe weather, or just to get your daily forecast. Follow today. You won’t be sorry! Thank you!

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Weather Headlines

A dry, warm stretch of days ahead!

A quiet 7-day forecast

The best chance for rain in the 7-day is Tuesday

Main threats

Hazardous weather is not expected over the next five to seven days.


We have entered a very quiet forecast period! While we do have some spring showers and thundershowers coming next week, nothing looks impressive at all. The risk for severe storms is practically non-existent. I think we’ll take that, don’t you?

The weekend is looking pretty good, too. We may squeeze out a shower Saturday night and Sunday, but it is certainly nothing to cancel any outdoor plans over.

The best chance of rain may hold off until next Tuesday, when a weakening cold front pushes through.


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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

I added percentages of precip back to the 7-day. I hope you like it!

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Wx Hazards Across the Nation

A very wintry pattern continues for the country! Significant snow and ice are possible across the central and northern plains today. Meanwhile, lighter wintry precip will fall on each end of the country, with New England getting more of a wintry mix and the Pacific Northwest seeing more light snow. Special weather statements are being issued for the central Rockies for more significant snowfall this coming weekend.



Nashville recorded one inch of snow on this day in 1951. While I don’t see anything on record, I pulled up the weather map for that day and it shows light snow across the plateau with some minor accumulation.

Eleven cities in Florida broke record lows on this day in 1987. Tallahassee dropped all the way down to 31 degrees! Key West, Florida even recorded a record low when they dropped all they way down to 48 degrees. That broke the old record by 13 degrees!

Thirsty Thursday

On average, women in developing countries walk about 3.7 miles a day to collect fresh water for their families. How far have you walked for water today? Sure makes ya think, right?

NASA Knowledge

I certainly wasn’t alone when I applied to be an astronaut. NASA, “More than 12,000 people have applied to join NASA’s next class of astronauts, demonstrating strong national interest to take part in America’s plans to explore the Moon and take humanity’s next giant leap – human missions to Mars.

Applications were received from every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories. However, the process is just beginning for NASA’s Astronaut Selection Board, which will assess the applicants’ qualifications and invite the most qualified candidates to the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for interviews and medical tests before making a final selection. NASA expects to introduce the new astronaut candidates in the summer of 2021.”

This is the second highest number of people to apply to be an astronaut. In the last round of applications two years ago, about 18,000 people applied. This year they made the requirements a bit tougher, such as requiring at least a Masters degree.

NASA, “Since the 1960s, NASA has selected 350 people to train as astronaut candidates for its increasingly challenging missions to explore space. With 48 astronauts in the active astronaut corps, more will be needed to serve as crew aboard spacecraft bound for multiple destinations and propel exploration forward as part of Artemis missions and beyond.

Once selected, the astronaut candidates will go through approximately two years of initial skills training, such as spacewalking, robotics, and spacecraft systems, as well.”


TVA reports that the period of January through March were the wettest first three months of any year in 131 years of record. That led to some massive work by TVA to prevent devastating flooding across Tennessee. Thankfully, they were very successful at that!


Finally, I shared this on Facebook last night but I’ll share it here too. This is video of clouds moving over the mountains of Virginia yesterday. Notice the snow on the ground. How cool is this view? (4)

You all have a great day!

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Wednesday eye candy to go with your lunch

Check out this wild situation off the Carolina Coast this morning. As the video begins, you’ll see the Outer Banks on the very left-hand side.

The storm system wants to move north but a blocking high pressure system has something to say about that. Meanwhile, the warm Gulf Stream Current provides more than enough fuel for energy. Sure does leave us with some mesmerizing satellite imagery! This is what you call meteorological eye candy!

Each cumulonimbus cloud contains the energy of about ten Hiroshima atomic bombs. A cumulonimbus cloud is a cumulus cloud that produces precipitation. No wonder they bubble up into the atmosphere like a bomb!

This same system is helping bring us northerly winds today, keeping us quite chilly.

(video from Stu Ostro via The Weather Channel).

**Remember to “Follow” the blog to get updates like this sent straight to your inbox! Just look for the “Follow” button in the lower right corner of your screen. Thank you! (2)

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