Tennessee Tornadoes, Decadal Totals


Tennessee Tornadoes, Decadal Totals

Gallatin Tornado April 7th, 2006
Photo Credit: Anonymous


Tennessee Tornadoes; Decadal Totals

Bobby Boyd
National Weather Service
Nashville, Tennessee


From January 1st, 1950 through December 31st, 2009 there were 997 tornadoes documented in Tennessee with 304 fatalities and 3860 injuries. When looking at the data there is a noticeable increase in the number of tornadoes during the last two decades of record. There are several possibilities for this increase. One of which is the improvement in weather radar technology such as the doppler radars that were commissioned in Tennessee in the mid 1990's. Doppler weather radars have allowed meteorologists to see storms that might contain rotation sooner than the conventional radars of the 1950's and 60's. Also public awareness has increased along with the proliferation of digital and video cameras which means many more small tornadoes are now sighted and tracked that probably would have been missed many years ago. Also, the urbanization of Tennessee since the 1950's has led to an increased awareness. Tornadoes that once moved through areas where vast farm land existed are now moving through subdivisions, apartment complexes and shopping centers.  For these reasons tornado records from earlier decades such as the 1950's are not comparable with the record of recent years.


Tennessee Tornadoes, Decadal Totals

Tennessee Tornadoes by Decade

Decade Tornadoes Fatalities Injuries
1950-1959 97 91 817
1960-1969 76 11 154
1970-1979 185 59 1267
1980-1989 118 8 142
1990-1999 223 35 727
2000-2009 298 100 753


Thanks to meteorologist Rachel Haynes for the graphic.







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