April 3, 1974 Tornado Outbreak - Nashville Tornado

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the April 3-4, 1974 tornado outbreak - one of the worst tornado outbreaks to ever affect the U.S.  Dubbed the "Super Outbreak", at least 148 tornadoes struck 13 states from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes over a 16 hour period from the afternoon of April 3, 1974 into the early morning hours of April 4, 1974.  When it was over, 330 people were dead and 5,484 were injured.  Damage from all of the tornadoes combined added up to a path more than 2,500 miles long.

Across Middle Tennessee, at least 24 tornadoes affected areas along and east of the I-65 corridor, making this the largest known outbreak of tornadoes to ever impact the Mid State.  In fact, several other weak tornadoes also likely touched down that were never officially recorded.  The "Super Outbreak" is considered the worst tornado outbreak to strike the Upper Cumberland Region, with 38 people killed and hundreds of others injured. 

This webpage serves to commemorate this historic event with a look back at the 24 tornadoes that struck Middle Tennessee that day, with maps, photos, videos, newspaper articles, research, and more.  If you have stories, photos, videos, or other information from the April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak that you would like to share, please contact us at sr-ohx.webmaster@noaa.gov.

Map of April 3, 1974 Tornado Outbreak
Map of April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak
by T. Theodore Fujita
Map of April 3, 1974 Tornado Outbreak - Middle Tennessee Portion
Middle Tennessee portion of April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak (NOTE: NOT TO SCALE)

April 3-4 1974 Middle Tennessee Tornadoes
Map # Counties Rating Time (CST)
Length (mi) Width (yds) Fatalities Injuries
60 Robertson F0 1500 4 - 0 0
67 Davidson F2 1618 12 400 0 0
71 Maury F1 1630 8 - 0 0
68 Wilson/Trousdale/Smith F3 1700 21 300 0 0
78 Marshall/Bedford F1 1700 13 - 0 4
72 Rutherford/Wilson F3 1710 19 100 0 0
79 Marshall/Bedford F1 1715 26 - 0 0
98 Limestone AL/Madison AL/Lincoln F4 1825 50 500 16 AL/6 TN 250
73 Overton F1 1830 4 - 0 0
80 Cannon/DeKalb F3 1830 15 100 1 23
81 Jackson/Overton F1 1900 9 - 0 0
97 Lincoln/Franklin/Coffee F4 1900 36 400 5 20
75 Pickett/Scott/McCreary KY F2 1915 20 - 0 0
86 White/Putnam/Overton F4 1915 32 700 10 51
82 Pickett/Wayne KY F4 1930 19 300 5 6
87 Fentress F4 1950 13 500 7 150
99 Franklin/Coffee/Grundy F3 2000 20 100 0 1
100 Warren/Van Buren F3 2015 16 100 1 1
91 Giles/Marshall/Bedford F1 2100 28 - 0 0
85 Overton F3 2230 13 400 3 120
90 White/Putnam F1 2245 3 - 0 0
92 Warren/White F1 2245 7 - 0 1
93 White/Cumberland F3 2330 26 300 0 28

Newspaper Articles
The Tennessean:  April 2-6 1974
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Putnam Herald-Citizen:  April 4-11 1974
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Livingston Enterprise:  April 11-18 1974 (courtesy of Tyler Allen)
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Reports
Jumbo Tornado Outbreak of 3 April 1974 by T. Theodore Fujita
Super Outbreak April 3rd, 4th 1974 by Meteorologist Bobby Boyd
Warning Operations at NWS Nashville by Meteorologist Bobby Boyd
NOAA Report on April 3 1974 Tennessee Tornadoes
April 1974 NCDC Storm Data

Research & Data
Revisiting the 3-4 April 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes by SPC Meteorologist Steve Corfidi
The 3-4 April 1974 Tornado Outbreak: Outbreak of the Century by SPC Meteorologist Steve Corfidi
Middle Tennessee Tornado Database
The Tornado Project
12Z 03 Apr 1974 Nashville Upper Air Sounding from University of Wyoming
00Z 04 Apr 1974 Nashville Upper Air Sounding from University of Wyoming

Photos & Personal Accounts
I Remember: Super Tornado Outbreak April 3, 1974 Facebook Group
Jamestown TN F4 Tornado - Lost Jamestown Facebook Group

Videos
Nolensville TN F2 Tornado by John W Overbey Jr.

Links
NWS Huntsville AL: Remembering the April 3-4, 1974 Tornado Outbreak
NWS Birmingham AL: The April 3rd and 4th 1974 Tornado Outbreak in Alabama
NWS Louisville KY: 40th Anniversary of the April 3, 1974 Super Outbreak
NWS Wilmington OH: The April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak
NWS Indianapolis IN: April 3, 1974 Super Outbreak
NWS Northern IN: Super Outbreak
NWS Central IL: April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes: Impacts on Illinois


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