Hazardous Tornados Tear Through the South

By: Sarah Joy (Correspondent)

Twelve tornadoes tore through Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Northern Alabama on the morning of March 2. This natural disaster is the second most devastating in history since 1925; killing 25, injuring hundreds, and leaving 20 people unaccounted for. 

These tornadoes were not expected, yet the Storm Prediction Center or SPC did alert them that there was a predicted cold front moving in on northeastern Alabama. This was at around 6:00 UTC. This transformed into tornadic activity, there were warnings of large hail storms. The first tornado watch was put in place at 5:20 P.M., stretching from Northern Alabama to Western Kentucky. 

The atmospheric pressure had dropped exponentially by 11:00 P.M. CST, this caused the storm’s supercells to organize themselves in a storm formation. The SPC started monitoring eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, and southwestern Kentucky for any signs of progressing thunderstorms. 

These thunderstorms continuously got more aggressive so the SPC sent out a warning for high surface winds and possible hail storms. By 11:20 P.M. CST, the first tornado stormed across the middle of Tennessee. 

Within the hours that followed, a supercell of storms developed into two very large and dangerous tornadoes. These were an EF4 that hit near Cookeville, Tennessee. The category four killed 18 of the 24 and injured 88 people along its 8-mile route. 

Other than the EF-4, there was an EF-3 that caused six fatalities and injured around 220 people. The EF-3 stretched along a sixty-mile path and hit mainly in Davidson County, Wilson County, and Smith County in Tennessee. 

This phenomenon was labeled the second deadliest tornado event in history to this day. The highest-ranking category was an EF-4 which hit Putnam, Tennessee. An EF is the abbreviation of the Enhanced Fujita Scale, the scale used to identify the intensity of a tornado.

Recently there has been an increase in tornadoes, not a large one but enough to spark the interest of some meteorologists. Tornadoes are formed when warm, humid air that comes in contact with cold and dry air. Tornado season is in spring because the temperature is not too hot yet not too cold. 

 “When we start getting further away from things that are directly related to temperature, the attribution problem becomes a lot harder,” said Harold Brooks. Brooks is a senior researcher from the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma.

Given that this happened on Super Tuesday a few hours prior to the opening of some voting sites, it caused a one hour delay for the polls. Two “supersites” in Davidson County were created in order to accommodate for the lost voting offices. An hour was added on to the end of the voting sites to allow people to come from father locations by the Davidson County Superior Court judge. 

On Thursday morning after hearing about the disasters, Taylor Swift posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “Nashville is my home and the fact that so many people have lost their homes and so much more in Middle Tennessee is devastating to me.” Swift later announced that she would be donating one 1 million to the Tornado Relief Foundation. 

The twisters that hit Nashville damaged over 48 buildings over the roughly 50 mile pathways they followed. Over 50,000 people were without power, and many more houses were demolished. Due to the wreckage of many schools, the Metro Nashville Public Schools are attempting to relocate students and staff. 

Pop Star Carrie Underwood said that her husband, Mike Fisher, and her two sons, Isiah and Jacob, were in Nashville during the time of the tornado outbreaks. She was in New York City to promote her book, it was around 2 A.M. when she got the news that her family had to go to a bunker for safety. 

Dolly Parton also tweeted, “Praying for all those affected by the devastating storms in Tennessee and my heart is especially with the families who lost loved ones. We are all with you.” 

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