Tornado outbreak of March 2–3, 2020

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Tornado outbreak of March 2–3, 2020
A map shows four EF0 tornadoes in Tennessee and Mississippi, two EF1 tornadoes in Tennessee and Mississippi, three EF2 tornadoes in Tennessee and Kentucky, one EF3 tornado, and one EF4 tornado, both in Tennessee. The tornado warnings and tornadoes mainly span from Gibson County, Tennessee through Nashville to Knox County. There are also tornado warnings in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama.
Confirmed tornadoes received by the Storm Prediction Center as well as all the tornado warnings issued.
TypeTornado outbreak
DurationMarch 2–3, 2020
Highest winds
Tornadoes
confirmed
15
Max. rating1EF4 tornado
Duration of
tornado outbreak2
10 hours, 38 minutes
Casualties25 fatalities (+1 indirect), 309 injuries
Damage$1.606 billion (2020 USD)[1]
Power outages73,000
Areas affectedTennessee, Alabama, Southern Kentucky, Southeastern Missouri

1Most severe tornado damage; see Enhanced Fujita scale
2Time from first tornado to last tornado

A small but deadly tornado outbreak affected West and Middle Tennessee on the night of March 2 and into the morning of March 3, 2020, including a high-end EF3 tornado that hit Nashville and Mount Juliet, becoming the 6th costliest tornado in United States history, and a violent EF4 tornado that impacted areas just west of Cookeville. A total of 25 people were killed by the tornadoes,[2][3] with an additional 309 being injured, and more than 70,000 losing power. The path of the Nashville tornado was very similar to the one that hit East Nashville in 1998. A few additional tornadoes were also confirmed in Alabama, southeastern Missouri, and western Kentucky. Total damage from the event reached $1.606 billion according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.[1]

Meteorological synopsis[edit]

The threat for severe weather across Middle Tennessee and surrounding areas was not forecast well in advance. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) first issued a slight risk across northeastern Arkansas into the Tennessee Valley area in their 06:00 UTC March 2 outlook. In their forecast, the SPC noted that an unstable atmosphere was likely to materialize ahead of an approaching cold front, but that this environment would likely be contained by a capping inversion for most of the day.[4]

By the afternoon hours, the SPC expected the combination of rich moisture, modest wind shear, and cold mid-level temperatures to promote the formation of supercells with a primary risk of large hail. Some tornadic activity appeared possible overnight given an increase in low-level winds.[5] At 5:20 p.m. CST, the first tornado watch was issued from northern Arkansas northeastward into southern Indiana and western Kentucky as discrete storms began to develop.[6][7]

By 11:00 p.m. CST, as a surface low progressed northeastward through southern Missouri, sustained barometric pressure falls caused supercell storms to give way to an organized storm cluster that gradually weakened as it progressed into an area of less abundant moisture.[8] As convection weakened to the north, the SPC began to monitor areas farther south – encompassing eastern Arkansas, West Tennessee, and southwestern Kentucky – for reinvigorated thunderstorm development as the northern jet stream amplified southeastward into the risk area. Strong wind shear coupled with low instability was expected to promote activity with "a risk for severe hail, strong surface gusts and perhaps potential for a tornado or two."[9] At 11:20 p.m. CST, a localized tornado watch was issued across Middle Tennessee.[10] In subsequent hours, a long-lived and intense supercell produced ten tornadoes along the Interstate 40 corridor. A few hours after the Tennessee event, as severe weather moved farther south, a couple weaker tornadoes touched down in central Alabama as the outbreak wound down.

Tennessee supercell[edit]

At 10:12 p.m. CST, the first tornado produced by the supercell touched down in Gibson County in West Tennessee. This tornado was rated EF1 and was followed minutes later by a stronger and longer-tracked EF2 tornado which tracked across much of Carroll County. After causing minor to moderate damage with these two tornadoes, the supercell quickly produced a third tornado, also rated EF2, that touched down north of Camden in Benton County. This tornado produced significant damage along a nearly 19-mile (31 km) path, killing one person in Benton County before crossing Kentucky Lake into Humphreys County in Middle Tennessee. It continued to produce damage until dissipating just north of Waverly at 11:31 p.m. CST. A fourth tornado, rated EF0, caused sporadic damage minutes later in the McEwen area.[11]

Upon crossing into Dickson County, the supercell began to weaken somewhat, with a marked decrease in rotation as the cell moved through Dickson and into Cheatham County. However, very large hail was reported in the Charlotte area as the cell passed through. After passing just north of Pegram, the supercell immediately began showing signs of better organization as a well-defined hook echo reappeared on radar. Just after entering Davidson County, the fifth tornado associated with the cell commenced at 12:32 a.m. CST, approximately seven miles (11 km) northeast of Pegram. A tornado warning was issued for Downtown Nashville three minutes later as the tornado crossed the Cumberland River and impacted the John C. Tune Airport. It would go on to achieve high-end EF3 intensity in the communities of East Nashville, Donelson, and Mount Juliet while travelling 60.13 miles (96.77 km) through Davidson, Wilson, and Smith counties, also causing heavy damage in Lebanon and Gordonsville. Five people were killed by the tornado, two in East Nashville and three near Mount Juliet, and 220 people were injured. After lifting, a sixth tornado, rated EF0, was quickly produced along the Smith–Putnam county line. It moved across areas north of Buffalo Valley, dissipating as it tried to ascend the Highland Rim.[11]

The seventh tornado was a violent EF4 tornado in Putnam County in the vicinity of Baxter and Cookeville, which caused 19 deaths and 87 injuries. It touched down northwest of Baxter at 1:48 a.m. CST, just as a tornado warning was issued for the area. The tornado moved toward the Double Springs community and quickly intensified. Producing a narrow swath of EF3 to EF4-strength damage, the tornado moved along U.S. 70N, causing catastrophic damage in neighborhoods along the path. The tornado abruptly dissipated just before reaching downtown Cookeville after a path of nearly 8.4 miles (13.5 km). This abrupt dissipation was due in part to a southern circulation developing within the cell to the south of Interstate 40, which later resulted in the eighth tornado, a brief EF0, southeast of Cookeville in Goffton.[11]

As the northern circulation dissipated over Overton County, the southern circulation became dominant as the supercell climbed the Cumberland Plateau into Cumberland County. An EF2 tornado, the ninth from the cell, began near Rinnie, north of Crossville, and moved east into the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area, producing extensive tree damage. After apparent dissipation in wilderness near the Cumberland–Morgan county border, a tenth tornado, rated EF0, produced minor damage a few miles east, just to the west of Lancing in East Tennessee. The final tornado produced by the cell dissipated at 3:42 a.m. EST (2:42 a.m. CST), four and a half hours after the first tornado in Gibson County. Interestingly, no tornado warning was ever issued for the first two tornadoes, despite strong rotation on radar.[11]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Enhanced Fujita rating
EFU EF0 EF1 EF2 EF3 EF4 EF5 Total
0 6 3 4 1 1 0 15

March 2 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes – Monday, March 2, 2020[note 1]
EF# Location County / Parish State Start Coord. Time (UTC) Path length Max width Summary Refs
EF1 SW of Crofton to NW of Fruit Hill Christian KY 37°02′01″N 87°30′02″W / 37.0335°N 87.5005°W / 37.0335; -87.5005 (Crofton (Mar. 2, EF1)) 02:00–02:06 5.51 mi (8.87 km) 400 yd (370 m) A meteorologist observed this tornado as it crossed U.S. Route 41 just south of Crofton. Four farm structures and two garages were either damaged or destroyed, and several homes sustained minor roof, window, and siding damage. Numerous trees were uprooted along the path. [12]
EF1 Idlewide to NW of Trezevant Gibson TN 36°01′56″N 88°49′39″W / 36.0323°N 88.8275°W / 36.0323; -88.8275 (Idlewild (Mar. 2, EF1)) 04:12–04:23 7.27 mi (11.70 km) 100 yd (91 m) The first tornado produced by the long-tracked Nashville supercell damaged several homes and grain bins south of Bradford. Trees were downed as well. A tornado warning was never issued for this tornado. [13]
EF0 ESE of Broadwater to W of Risco New Madrid MO 36°34′N 89°54′W / 36.57°N 89.9°W / 36.57; -89.9 (Broadwater (Mar. 2, EF0)) 04:15–04:18 3.06 mi (4.92 km) 50 yd (46 m) A narrow tornado was on the ground approximately three minutes, and was confirmed by chaser via photograph. The tornado remained over an open field and produced no damage. [14][15]
EF2 S of McKenzie to N of Hollow Rock Carroll TN 36°04′52″N 88°31′43″W / 36.0811°N 88.5287°W / 36.0811; -88.5287 (Hico (Mar. 2, EF2)) 04:41–04:57 14.8 mi (23.8 km) 100 yd (91 m) The second tornado from the Nashville supercell moved due east across Carroll County. Homes, barns, and grain bins were damaged or destroyed along the path. A few of these homes had their roofs torn off, and one sustained collapse of its exterior walls. Numerous trees were downed as well. A tornado warning was never issued for this tornado. [16]
EF2 NNW of Camden to N of Waverly Benton, Humphreys TN 36°05′34″N 88°07′08″W / 36.0928°N 88.1189°W / 36.0928; -88.1189 (Camden (Mar. 2, EF2)) 05:05–05:31 18.72 mi (30.13 km) 250 yd (230 m) 1 death – Several homes sustained significant damage, some of which sustained roof loss and some collapse of exterior walls. A mobile home was destroyed, and multiple outbuildings were either damaged or destroyed as well. Hundreds of trees were downed along the path, especially as the tornado crossed the Kentucky Lake into Humphreys County. Two people were also injured in Benton County. This was the third tornado from the long-tracked Nashville supercell. [17][18]
EF0 McEwen to NNE of Few Chapel Humphreys TN 36°06′58″N 87°38′54″W / 36.1162°N 87.6482°W / 36.1162; -87.6482 (McEwen (Mar. 2, EF0)) 05:42–05:48 4.8 mi (7.7 km) 50 yd (46 m) This tornado, the fourth tornado from the Nashville supercell, touched down just northwest of McEwen and moved off to the east, damaging a small barn and causing roof damage to a house. Several trees were downed along the path. [19]

March 3 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes – Tuesday, March 3, 2020[note 1]
EF# Location County / Parish State Start Coord. Time (UTC) Path length Max width Summary Refs
EF2 N of Allen Springs to SSW of Raley Ford Warren, Allen KY 36°51′00″N 86°19′12″W / 36.8500°N 86.3200°W / 36.8500; -86.3200 (Allen Springs (Mar. 3, EF2)) 06:15–06:18 2.7 mi (4.3 km) 250 yd (230 m) A brief, but strong low-end EF2 tornado embedded within a larger area of straight-line wind damage destroyed three barns, and caused significant roof and siding damage to two houses southeast of Alvaton. A horse trailer was thrown 70 yards (64 m), and over 500 trees were knocked down in all directions. [12]
EF3 W of Nashville to Lebanon to SE of Gordonsville Davidson, Wilson, Smith TN 36°10′18″N 86°57′22″W / 36.1717°N 86.9562°W / 36.1717; -86.9562 (Nashville (Mar. 3, EF3)) 06:32–07:35 60.13 mi (96.77 km) 1,600 yd (1,500 m) 5 deaths – See section on this tornado – The fifth tornado from the long-tracked Nashville supercell, this was the 6th costliest tornado in United States history with $1.504 billion in damage. 220 people were injured. [20][21][22]
EF0 NNW of Buffalo Valley to S of Gentry Smith, Putnam TN 36°09′37″N 85°48′20″W / 36.1603°N 85.8056°W / 36.1603; -85.8056 (St. Mary's (Mar. 3, EF0)) 07:38–07:42 3.32 mi (5.34 km) 50 yd (46 m) The sixth tornado produced by the Nashville supercell touched down three minutes after the Nashville EF3 tornado lifted and moved across hilly terrain just north of Buffalo Valley. It caused roof damage to several homes in the St. Mary's and Rock Springs communities of Putnam County before dissipating near the Buffalo Valley Dragway. Several outbuildings were damaged and numerous trees were downed as well. [23]
EF4 NW of Baxter to Cookeville Putnam TN 36°10′18″N 85°39′42″W / 36.1716°N 85.6618°W / 36.1716; -85.6618 (Putnam County (Mar. 3, EF4)) 07:48–07:56 8.39 mi (13.50 km) 900 yd (820 m) 19 deaths – See section on this tornado – This was the seventh tornado from the long-tracked Nashville supercell. 87 people were injured. [24]
EF0 Goffton Putnam TN 36°06′27″N 85°26′46″W / 36.1075°N 85.4461°W / 36.1075; -85.4461 (Goffton (Mar. 3, EF0)) 08:05–08:06 0.23 mi (0.37 km) 25 yd (23 m) The eighth tornado from the Nashville supercell briefly touched down along U.S. Route 70N in the Dry Valley area southeast of Cookeville and caused roof damage to a house, a metal garage, and an outbuilding. Several trees had large branches broken as well. [25]
EF2 SW of Rinnie to NNE of Fairfield Glade Cumberland, Morgan TN 36°08′24″N 85°02′24″W / 36.1399°N 85.0401°W / 36.1399; -85.0401 (Catoosa WMA (Mar. 3, EF2)) 08:25–08:35 10.07 mi (16.21 km) 500 yd (460 m) This was the ninth tornado produced by the Nashville supercell. It touched down along U.S. Route 127, causing roof damage to a mobile home. It then destroyed two outbuildings, caused roof damage to two homes, and pushed over a power pole. Two more outbuildings were destroyed before the tornado continued into the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area, where extensive tree damage warranted a low-end EF2 rating. The tornado weakened as it approached the Morgan County border and dissipated in Morgan County. [26]
EF0 W of Lancing Morgan TN 36°07′35″N 84°47′56″W / 36.1264°N 84.799°W / 36.1264; -84.799 (Lancing (Mar. 3, EF0)) 08:40–08:42 3.68 mi (5.92 km) 200 yd (180 m) The tenth and final tornado produced by the Nashville supercell snapped or uprooted numerous trees and flipped a metal carport. [27]
EF0 S of Greensboro Hale AL 32°41′05″N 87°37′21″W / 32.6846°N 87.6226°W / 32.6846; -87.6226 (Southern Greensboro (Mar. 3, EF0)) 12:04–12:12 4.34 mi (6.98 km) 220 yd (200 m) A high-end EF0 tornado snapped or uprooted numerous trees along its path. Some homes suffered damage to shingles and siding, as well as some minor structural damage. [28]
EF1 Lawley Bibb AL 32°51′53″N 87°02′59″W / 32.8648°N 87.0496°W / 32.8648; -87.0496 (Lawley (Mar. 3, EF1)) 12:28–12:38 6.21 mi (9.99 km) 525 yd (480 m) A high-end EF1 tornado blew a manufactured home off its foundation, displaced a vehicle, and snapped or uprooted several dozen trees. A few houses were damaged, and more trees were downed in a wooded area and near the Lawley Fire Department and Community Center. [29]

Notable tornadoes[edit]

Nashville–Mount Juliet–Lebanon–Gordonsville, Tennessee[edit]

Nashville–Mount Juliet–Lebanon–Gordonsville, Tennessee
EF3 tornado
2020-03-03 Nashville Tennessee EF3 tornado damage 3.jpg
EF3 damage to a house in Nashville.
Highest winds
  • 165 mph (266 km/h)
Max. rating1EF3 tornado
Casualties5 fatalities, 220 injuries
Damage$1.504 billion (2020 USD)
(6th costliest tornado in US history)
1Most severe tornado damage; see Enhanced Fujita scale

This deadly and very destructive high-end EF3 tornado touched down around 12:32 a.m. CST (06:32 UTC) in far western Davidson County along River Road, seven miles (11 km) northeast of Pegram. Initially, just trees were downed as the tornado crossed the Cumberland River and moved through Bells Bend, where a barn was also destroyed. Damage along this initial segment of the path was rated EF0 to EF1. The tornado crossed the river a second time before heavily damaging the John C. Tune Airport and an industrial area along Centennial Boulevard at high-end EF2 strength. The airport sustained significant damage to its terminal and other buildings, with 17 metal hangars on the property destroyed. More than 90 aircraft parked at the airport, including charter jets, smaller airplanes, and a newsgathering helicopter operated by CBS affiliate WTVF, were destroyed.[30] Maintaining high-end EF2 strength, it crossed Briley Parkway and struck the former Tennessee State Prison, which sustained considerable structural damage. A communications tower and metal truss transmission towers were downed nearby. The tornado crossed the Cumberland River a third time and traveled through river bottomland in the Bordeaux community, snapping trees, producing roof damage to a few homes and the Bordeaux nursing home, and destroying a few small sheds and outbuildings. It then crossed the river again and struck the northern part of the Tennessee State University campus.

Agricultural buildings on the campus were heavily damaged, resulting in the deaths of two calves and injuries to several goats. East of this location, the tornado produced EF1 to EF2 damage in the North Nashville neighborhood, mainly to numerous homes and a few businesses. Some small homes sustained roof and exterior wall loss in this area, and many trees and power lines were downed.[31]

The tornado grew to nearly two-thirds of a mile wide as it crossed Interstate 65 and moved into Germantown, just north of the Tennessee State Capitol, where it produced a widespread swath of mid to high-end EF2 damage. Throughout Germantown, numerous homes, churches, and apartment buildings sustained significant structural damage, including several large, multi-story apartment buildings that had their roofs and upper-floor exterior walls ripped off. An O'Reilly Auto Parts store was damaged, and an Advance Auto Parts was almost completely destroyed. The Tennessee Department of Human Services building was largely destroyed, with its roof ripped off and some exterior walls collapsed. Around this time, local news media in Nashville began reporting power flashes and showing video of the tornado as it moved through the area, including WTVF, whose studio facility—located along James Robertson Parkway between Germantown and the State Capitol—narrowly missed a direct hit by the tornado. After crossing the Cumberland River for the fifth time along the Jefferson Street Bridge, the tornado struck Topgolf and an industrial area, causing damage at EF1 to EF2 intensity. A U-Haul store was destroyed, with numerous moving trucks flipped and tossed.

It then crossed Interstate 24 at Spring Street and produced major EF3-strength damage in East Nashville, crossing the path of the April 16, 1998 F3 tornado in the Five Points neighborhood. Numerous businesses, restaurants, bars, homes, and apartment buildings were damaged or destroyed in Five Points, including Basement East, a popular music venue, which sustained major structural damage. A YMCA was badly damaged, and a Dollar General store was completely destroyed. Two fatalities occurred in Five Points when two pedestrians were struck by debris. The tornado continued through neighborhoods east of Five Points, causing EF2 damage to numerous homes, churches, and multi-story brick buildings. Some of these structures had removal of roofs and collapse of exterior walls. The damage continued at EF1 to EF2 strength back across the river and across Briley Parkway into the Lincoya Hills neighborhood, where many homes were damaged in this residential area. Mainly moderate damage occurred along this segment of the path, though a few homes were significantly damaged. The tornado then moved into Donelson, crossing the Stones River twice and destroying much of Donelson Christian Academy and the Stanford Estates subdivision as it rapidly re-intensified.

Numerous homes at Stanford Estates were destroyed and vehicles were thrown and mangled, and a few homes in this subdivision were leveled at high-end EF3 strength. The tornado crossed Lebanon Pike and then the Stones River a third time and continued into the southern part of Hermitage at high-end EF2 intensity. Numerous homes and industrial buildings sustained severe damage in Hermitage, along with Dodson Chapel United Methodist Church, in the area of Central Pike, Old Hickory Boulevard, and Tulip Grove Road. Kroger, Panera Bread, Petco, and multiple apartment buildings also sustained considerable damage along Old Hickory Boulevard. The tornado maintained EF2 strength as it paralleled Interstate 40 into Wilson County.[31]

The tornado moved through Mount Juliet, producing a large swath of high-end EF3 damage as it crossed North Mount Juliet Road and substantially damaged Mount Juliet Christian Academy, West Wilson Middle School, and Stoner Creek Elementary. Numerous homes throughout town were heavily damaged or destroyed, a few of which were completely leveled. Two fatalities occurred in western Mount Juliet along Catalpa Drive. Maintaining EF3 intensity along a six-mile (9.7 km) swath, the tornado continued east of Mount Juliet along the north side of Interstate 40 towards Lebanon, causing severe damage in residential, commercial, and industrial areas between the two cities.

Numerous large warehouses, industrial buildings, and manufacturing facilities were destroyed in this area, and many semi-truck trailers were thrown and destroyed. A fifth fatality occurred in a CEVA Logistics warehouse near Beckwith Road and Volunteer Drive. While on the interstate in this area, around six tractor-trailers were blown from the eastbound lanes into the westbound lanes, resulting in the interstate being closed for around 12 hours. Further east, a sixth person was killed in a building along Eastgate Boulevard, although it was never confirmed if this death was directly related to the tornado.[32]

The last area of EF3-strength damage was observed to warehouses along Eastgate Boulevard before the tornado weakened to EF2 intensity, producing more damage across Highway 109 and along Leeville Pike and Tuckers Gap Road. Extensive tree damage occurred in this area, and multiple well-built homes had their roofs ripped off, a few of which sustained some collapse of exterior walls. Two metal truss electrical transmission towers were blown over near Tuckers Gap Road before the tornado weakened to high-end EF1 strength and entered Lebanon. In Lebanon, many homes and businesses suffered considerable damage, including two large cemeteries, Lebanon Municipal Airport, Walmart, and Lowe's, as the tornado crossed South Hartmann Drive, South Maple Street, and South Cumberland Street (U.S. 231). The Wilson County Fairgrounds was affected as the tornado crossed Sparta Pike (U.S. 70) and moved east out of town. Frame homes were damaged, and some mobile homes and outbuildings were destroyed in this area. It continued along the interstate between Lebanon and Tuckers Crossroads, causing damage on both sides of the interstate along Bluebird Road and Coe Lane. As the tornado passed Linwood Road, a gas station and a heavy equipment auctioneer's property sustained low-end EF2 damage. The gas station had a canopy blown over and a couple exterior walls knocked down.[31]

Continuing into Smith County, the tornado produced EF1-type damage in the Grant and New Middleton communities, snapping and uprooting many trees, damaging or destroying barns and outbuildings, and causing considerable roof damage to homes. The tornado dipped south of the interstate at New Middleton, continuing to damage houses and destroy outbuildings as it crossed ridges and valleys through southern Gordonsville, with most of the damage occurring on Agee Branch Road, Hickman Highway, and Maple Street. A couple of mobile homes were damaged or destroyed in the Gordonsville area as well, including one that was flipped on top of a truck on Hickman Highway, and damage in this area was rated high-end EF1. More tree and structural damage was observed as the tornado left Gordonsville at EF1 intensity before it lifted east-northeast of Hickman along Lancaster Highway at 1:35 a.m. CST (07:35 UTC). The tornado caused five fatalities and 220 injuries along the 60.13-mile (96.77 km) path, which is one of the longest continuous damage paths in Tennessee history. Damage estimates from the tornado reached $1.504 billion, making it the 6th costliest tornado in United States history.[31]

The supercell continued producing sporadic wind damage through the Club Springs community as it crossed Interstate 40 and the Caney Fork River, before quickly producing another tornado, rated EF0, in the St. Mary's community of Putnam County, approximately four miles (6.4 km) east of the end of the damage path of this tornado.[31]

Putnam County–Cookeville, Tennessee[edit]

Putnam County–Cookeville, Tennessee
EF4 tornado
CookevilleTNEF4damage.jpg
EF4 damage to homes along North McBroom Chapel Road and Hensley Drive, just west of Cookeville.
Highest winds
  • 175 mph (282 km/h)
Max. rating1EF4 tornado
Casualties19 fatalities, 87 injuries
Damage$100 million (2020 USD)
1Most severe tornado damage; see Enhanced Fujita scale

The supercell responsible for producing the Nashville tornado ascended the Highland Rim and produced another tornado northwest of Baxter in Putnam County at 1:49 a.m. CST (07:49 UTC) on March 3. The tornado touched down along the north side of U.S. 70N and moved due-east, producing EF0 damage to trees, outbuildings, and homes as it approached Highway 56 near Baxter. The tornado reached EF1 intensity as it crossed Highway 56 and moved through a residential subdivision. It caused minor to moderate roof damage to numerous homes and destroyed an outbuilding. The tornado intensified to EF2 strength as it crossed Prosperity Drive, tearing the roof and exterior walls off a home. Entering the community of Double Springs, the tornado heavily damaged or destroyed numerous homes and a garage structure at EF2 to EF3 strength, before cutting a narrow swath of intense damage across Bloomington Road, Clemmons Road, and Charlton Square. As the tornado crossed Charlton Square in the eastern part of the Eller Plantation subdivision, two homes were swept away. These homes were built on block foundations, but were fairly well-anchored, earning an EF4 rating. Numerous other nearby homes in the subdivision were also damaged or destroyed. Maintaining EF4 strength along a 0.8-mile (1.3 km) swath, the tornado crossed Plunk Whitson Road and moved eastward through more residential areas.

Catastrophic damage was produced in this area as entire portions of neighborhoods were completely flattened. Numerous fatalities occurred as at least 17 well-anchored block-foundation homes were leveled or swept away along Hensley Drive and North McBroom Chapel Road. Vehicles were thrown and severely damaged, and numerous trees were denuded and partially debarked in this area. Homes farther away from the center of the damage path sustained loss of roofs and exterior walls.[31]

EF4 damage along North McBroom Chapel Road, adjacent to Hensley Drive.

Continuing eastward, the tornado continued to produce EF4 damage as it leveled a large apartment building along the north side of U.S. 70N. Just east of this point, additional EF4 damage occurred in the Echo Valley subdivision, where many homes were leveled or swept away. The tornado continued along U.S. 70N, weakening to high-end EF3 strength as it flattened the Echo Valley Market, a local convenience store. EF3-strength damage continued as it impacted residential areas within the vicinity of South Drive and Locust Grove Road, damaging or destroying multiple homes. A few poorly-anchored homes were leveled or swept from their foundations along this segment of the path, while a small apartment building, a metal structure, and outbuildings also sustained significant damage. Several metal storage unit buildings were destroyed in this area as well.[31]

The tornado weakened further to EF2 intensity as it crossed Tennessee Avenue and Miller Road, badly damaging a smoke shop and a metal-framed warehouse structure. Significant damage continued as the tornado moved due-east, following West Broad Street (U.S. 70N). Mobile homes and outbuildings were destroyed, and numerous frame homes were damaged, some of which sustained roof and exterior wall loss. A few businesses and other structures, including a bank and the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, also sustained considerable damage as the tornado entered the Cookeville city limits.

A majority of the damage along this corridor was rated EF2, though a small pocket of low-end EF3 damage occurred near County Farm Road, where a poorly-anchored home was swept away. At the intersection of Pippin Road and West Jackson Street with West Broad Street, an Exxon gas station was severely damaged, and a small used car dealership across the street was leveled and swept away, with only the basement of the building remaining. This damage was given a high-end EF2 rating. Continuing towards downtown Cookeville, the tornado passed south of Sycamore Elementary School, downing trees and causing minor to moderate damage to homes and other structures at EF0 to EF1 strength. Additional EF0 to EF1 damage to trees, some apartment buildings, and homes occurred as the tornado crossed Bucks Avenue and moved through areas just east of this point. The tornado then dissipated at Laurel Avenue and West 6th Street at 1:56 a.m. CST (07:56 UTC), just west of Cookeville Regional Medical Center and southwest of Tennessee Tech. The university remained closed for the two days following the storm. This tornado was given an EF4 rating, with maximum estimated winds of 175 mph (282 km/h). A total of 19 people were killed and 87 more were injured along the 8.39-mile (13.50 km) path.[33][31]

Non-tornadic impacts[edit]

The severe and tornadic thunderstorms across the region brought numerous other impacts aside from the tornadoes. In Kentucky, golf-ball sized hail fell in Paducah during the afternoon of March 2.[34] Later a microburst, with winds near 85 mph (137 km/h), caused major damage to a marina on Lake Barkley in Kuttawa. A dock had its metal flooring beams bent, while also sustaining damage to its many metal vertical supports and the metal roof, including a relatively small portion of it that was blown off. One boat was blown off a lift, and partially submerged as well and damage at the marina was estimated at $500,000 (2020 USD).[35] Flash flooding was also reported near the Hopkinsville Airport, where two cars were stranded, and Elkton due to the heavy rain.[36][37] Two roads in Coral Hill were also closed due to flowing water on the roadways.[38]

In Tennessee, the long-tracked Nashville supercell also bought baseball-to-lime-sized hail to Charlotte, shattering windshields of numerous cars and causing roof damage to some homes, leading to $15,000 (2020 USD) in damage.[39] Later, after the Nashville EF3 tornado had lifted, a 4 miles (6.4 km) long swath of straight-line winds of up to 75 mph (121 km/h) affected Eastern Smith County north of Lancaster, with several trees being snapped or uprooted and a few outbuildings suffering roof damage. Damages here were estimated at $10,000 (2020 USD).[40]

Although spared from the worst impacts, Alabama also had their fair share of destructive weather the day after the outbreak on March 4. Severe thunderstorms bought destructive straight-line winds that downed numerous trees south of Interstate 85 across the southern part of the state. The highest wind gust was 59 mph (95 km/h) at the Troy Municipal Airport, which coincided with the many reports of downed trees around the city of Troy.[41]

Aftermath[edit]

Helicopters fly over tornado damage in the Echo Valley and McBroom Chapel area of Cookeville during President Trump's visit.

Nashville Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was partially activated in the morning to monitor damage reports and respond to emergency calls.[42] A gas leak in Germantown made authorities conduct an evacuation.[43] Governor Bill Lee declared a state of emergency for all of Tennessee (later declared for the second time because of the COVID-19 pandemic). President Donald Trump visited the state on March 6.[44][45] The Nashville Predators opened their home arena, Bridgestone Arena, for victims of the storm to get help and free pizza on March 3.[46]

Metro Nashville Public Schools, Wilson County Schools, and Putnam County Schools were closed for the rest of the week, with Mount Juliet Christian Academy, West Wilson Middle School and the adjacent Stoner Creek Elementary in Mount Juliet being heavily damaged and closed the remainder of the school year. Donelson Christian Academy was mostly destroyed as well.[47][48] Schools in Wilson County never resumed after the tornado for the remainder of the 2019–20 school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other schools in Mount Juliet were significantly restructured to accommodate students from West Wilson and Stoner Creek when the new school year began on August 17.[49]

About 73,000 people across the state were left without power.[50] I-40 was closed in both directions between Mount Juliet and Lebanon for 12 hours following the storm.[51]

One year after the outbreak, Hope Park was dedicated in Putnam County on the properties of three homes destroyed by the tornado as a memorial to the 19 deaths in the county. Additionally, Tennessee Tech and the city of Cookeville honored the victims by ringing bells 19 times at 1:48 p.m. on March 3 (a year and 12 hours after the tornado touched down).[52]

Super Tuesday[edit]

The tornadoes struck a few hours before the voting was scheduled to open for the Tennessee Super Tuesday primary.[53] A delay of one hour was announced for the opening of polls in Davidson and Wilson counties; they were set to close on time.[53] Although many poll officials as well as polling sites were affected, the polling was scheduled to continue with adjustments. Two election commission offices in Davidson County were designated as "super sites" where anyone from the counties affected by the tornadoes could vote.[53] Generators were supplied to polling sites without power. Fifteen sites diverted voters to alternate locations.[54] On request from four of the democratic primary candidates, the Davidson County Superior Court judge issued a ruling extending voting in the county by an hour; five sites were set to open for voting until 10:00 p.m. CST.[55]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b All dates are based on the local time zone where the tornado touched down; however, all times are in Coordinated Universal Time for consistency.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "NCDC Tornado Summaries". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Estes, Doug Stanglin, Ayrika L. Whitney and Gentry. "'Pretty much like an explosion': Day after brutal Nashville tornadoes that killed 25 people, 3 still missing". USA TODAY. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  3. ^ "Here's what to know about the tornadoes that killed 24 in Tennessee". WTVF. March 3, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Steve Goss; Nick Nauslar (March 4, 2020). "Mar 2, 2020 0600 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  5. ^ Rich Thompson; Ryan Jewell (March 4, 2020). "Mar 2, 2020 1300 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  6. ^ Roger Edwards (March 2, 2020). "Tornado Watch 35". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  7. ^ Brynn Kerr (March 2, 2020). "Mesoscale Discussion 136". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  8. ^ Brynn Kerr (March 2, 2020). "Mesoscale Discussion 137". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Brynn Kerr (March 2, 2020). "Mesoscale Discussion 138". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Roger Edwards (March 2, 2020). "Tornado Watch 36". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "Tennessee Tornado Summaries". National Weather Service. National Centers for Environmental Information. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Kentucky Event Report: EF1 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF1 tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Peake, Scott (March 2, 2020). "4 miles east-northeast of Malden". @ScottPeakeWX. Twitter. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  15. ^ "Missouri Event Report: EF0 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF2 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  17. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF2 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  18. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF1 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF0 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  20. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF3 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF3 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF1 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  23. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF0 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  24. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF4 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF0 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF2 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: EF0 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  28. ^ "Alabama Event Report: EF0 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  29. ^ "Alabama Event Report: EF1 Tornado". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  30. ^ Laken Bowles (March 4, 2020). "Tornado causes $93M worth of damage at John C. Tune Airport". WTVF. E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h March 2-3, 2020 Tornadoes and Severe Weather (Report). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Nashville, Tennessee. March 5, 2020.
  32. ^ Xavier Smith (March 4, 2020). "Fourth Wilson County tornado fatality found". Wilson Post. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  33. ^ https://apps.dat.noaa.gov/stormdamage/damageviewer/
  34. ^ "Kentucky Event Report: 1.75 in. Hail". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  35. ^ "Kentucky Event Report: 74 kts. Thunderstorm Winds". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  36. ^ "Kentucky Event Report: Heavy Rain Flash Flood". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  37. ^ "Kentucky Event Report: Heavy Rain Flash Flood". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "Kentucky Event Report: Heavy Rain Flash Flood". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  39. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: 3.00 in. Hail". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  40. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: 65 kts. Thunderstorm Winds". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  41. ^ "Tennessee Event Report: 59 kts. Thunderstorm Winds". National Centers for Environmental Information. 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  42. ^ "Tornado crosses through downtown Nashville; Widespread damage reported". WKRN. WKRN. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  43. ^ Brackett, Ron (March 3, 2020). "Tennessee Tornado Death Toll Jumps to 22; Widespread Damage in Nashville, Middle Tennessee". The Weather Channel. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  44. ^ Rojas, Rick (March 3, 2020). "Tennessee Tornado Live Updates: Nashville Hit and 22 Killed Across State". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  45. ^ "State of emergency declared for Tennessee after deadly tornadoes". WVLT. March 3, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  46. ^ "Nashville Predators to open doors of Bridgestone Arena, feed people affected by area tornado". CBSSports.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  47. ^ 24 people are dead after a tornado ripped through Tennessee and destroyed numerous homes, Jason Hanna, Hollie Silverman and Chuck Johnston, CNN, March 3, 2020
  48. ^ "'Unbelievable damage' in Donelson after tornado passes through Middle Tennessee". WTVF. March 3, 2020. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  49. ^ "Wilson County Schools reopen to students Monday". WKRN. August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  50. ^ "Nashville tornado live updates: 9 dead as twister rips through city and suburbs". ABC News. ABC News. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  51. ^ Illers, Ethan. "I-40 closed in both directions between Mount Juliet and Lebanon". WSMV Nashville. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  52. ^ Sanders, Forrest. "Cookeville, Putnam County dedicate park to tornado victims". WSMV Nashville. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  53. ^ a b c Gee, Brandon; Bella, Timothy; Bellware, Kim; Cappucci, Matthew; Kornfield, Meryl. "Tornadoes kill at least 19 people, leave trail of destruction in and around Nashville". Washington Post. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  54. ^ "Deadly overnight tornadoes disrupt voting in Tennessee". POLITICO. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  55. ^ "Tornadoes kill at least 25 in Tennessee on Super Tuesday, crews search for missing". Reuters. March 4, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020.

External links[edit]