Gallatin Tornado April 7th, 2006
Photo Credit: Anonymous
National Weather Service
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 by Decade
Thanks to meteorologist Rachel Haynes for the graphic.