Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (2024)


Strong storms tracking through the central and eastern US Wednesday killed at least two people in Tennessee and as night fell, flash flooding and more tornadoes were slamming the state – including one twister that carved a path of destruction in communities south of Nashville.

Tornado warnings also were in effect late Wednesday in several southern states, including in northern Alabama, where a “large and destructive tornado” was in the area of Henagar, a city of a couple thousand people roughly 55 miles east of Huntsville, the National Weather Service said. A tornado warning also was issued earlier Wednesday night in the Huntsville area.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches for parts of Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee until 3 a.m. CT Thursday. A tornado watch means severe thunderstorms and tornadoes arepossiblein the watch area.

The National Weather Service said it had four tornado reports Wednesday from Tennessee, with two from Maury County, where a tornado emergency had been in effect. A “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was near the city of Spring Hill around 5:50 p.m. CT, the weather service said.

At least one person was killed and four others were injured in Maury County during the tornado, Maury Regional Medical Center spokesperson Rita Thompson told CNN. Three of those patients have non-life-threatening injuries and one is in serious condition, Thompson said.

The area had widespread damage, with trees down, officials in the county told CNN. Buildings were also damaged, but Maury County Commissioner Eric Previti said he wasn’t aware of the magnitude.

Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (1)

Wilson County EMA sent crews to Sumner County northeast of Nashville to aid in water rescues.

“We are urging for everyone to stay off of the roads. If you can stay at home, stay home,” the Maury County Office Of Emergency Management posted on Facebook.

People survey the damage at a Michigan mobile home park on Tuesday. @NISWweather/X Related article Several tornadoes hit Michigan, where 12 people were hurt in one mobile home park in southern part of the state

A flash flood emergency was issued Wednesday evening for Robertson and Sumner Counties in Middle Tennessee along the state line with Kentucky and around 20 to 30 miles north of Nashville, according to the weather service.

“At 6:56 pm CDT, water rescues and very dangerous flooding are occurring in the emergency area,” weather officials said. Radar estimates show 4 to 7 inches of rain have fallen across these counties today, and more heavy rainfall will move across the region over the next several hours.

An official with the Robertson County Emergency Management Agency said there were a few water rescues but no immediate reports of injuries.

The first fatality from the storms was reported in Claiborne County, Tennessee, Wednesday morning. A tree fell onto the person’s car amid intense storms, according to the county’s emergency management office. The person has not been identified.

Dangerous storms with damaging winds, large hail and tornado warnings have been ongoing in several states since Wednesday morning. The hazardous weather is playing out just a day after powerful tornadoes and storms swept through southwestern Michigan, destroying homes and businesses and injuring several residents.

The severe weather is forecasted to shift into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic on Thursday, bringing with it more hail, damaging winds and the possibility of a few tornadoes.

Here’s the latest on Wednesday’s storms and destruction in Tennessee and Tuesday’s damage in Michigan:

• Chaotic severe weather stretch: April to June is the most active time for tornadoes in the US, and May is typically the busiest month. This year has been no exception. At least one tornado has been reported in the US every day since April 25 – a streak of 14 days and counting.

• Damage and debris on I-65: The Tennessee Department of Transportation said it was sending crews to an area near Interstate 65 and State Road 99 where there was damage and debris. “1 lane is blocked on I-65S at MM 47 in Maury Co. after a reported tornado passed over the interstate. Reports from the scene are that cars and signs in the area were damaged,” transportation department spokesperson Rebekah Hammonds said on X.

Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (3)

Storm damage in Maury County on Interstate 65 South

• Mobile home park struck by tornado: More than a dozen people were injured at a mobile home park in Pavilion Township in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, following a tornado Tuesday, according to a city official. Fifteen to 20 people had minor injuries and were transported to two area hospitals, according to the county’s emergency management spokesperson Andrew Alspach.

Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (4)

Homes are left damaged after a tornado at Pavilion Estate Mobile Home Park in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, on Tuesday.

One Michigan town may have been hit twice: At least one tornado, possibly two, hit Portage Tuesday evening, as the area faced two tornado warnings in just over an hour, the National Weather Service said. Homes and businesses in the city sustained significant damage, but there were no serious injuries, according to town officials. A tornado ripped a large hole into a FedEx facility. A spokesperson for the Kalamazoo County administrator’s office toldMLive.comthat around 50 people were trapped in the facility for a few hours. CNN has been unable to verify that report. Portage public safety director Nicholas Armold later said all employees were accounted for when emergency responders arrived.

Damage reported in at least two other Michigan counties: Multiple homes and businesses were destroyed after a possible tornado touched down in Centreville on Tuesday, according to St. Joseph County Undersheriff Jason Bingaman. The storm damage ripped off roofs and flattened homes “completely down,” Bingaman told CNN. At least seven homes were destroyed in nearby Branch County, according to Emergency Management Director Tim Miner.

First-ever tornado emergency in Michigan: Parts of Branch County, including Union City, were placed under Michigan’s first tornado emergency when “a large and destructive tornado” was over the area Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Tornado emergencies are the most extreme tornado warnings and are only issued when a tornado threatens catastrophic damage and loss of life, often in a populated area.

Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (5)

Homes damaged by a tornado at Pavilion Estate Mobile Home Park in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, on Tuesday.

Tornado threat continues Wednesday

Nearly 3.7 million people were under a Level 4 of 5 risk of severe thunderstorms Wednesday night, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Within this risk are parts of Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee — including Nashville.

An additional 590 million people from Texas, through much of the Ohio Valley and into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, are under a Level 2 of 5 or Level 3 of 5 risk.

Powerful storms with damaging winds, hail bigger than baseballs and tornado warnings have been roaring across multiple states since Wednesday morning.

Some areas that endured an initial round of severe storms early Wednesday are at risk for another round later in the day – Tennessee is a prime example.

The repeated rounds of storms Wednesday will also deliver torrential rainfall and raise the risk of flooding.

“The greatest flash flooding threat also overlaps with the risk of severe thunderstorms, centered over Kentucky and Tennessee as well sections of neighboring states,” the National Weather Service said. A Level 3 of 4 risk of flooding rainfall is in place here, according to the Weather Prediction Center.

Rainfall rates could reach 2 inches per hour, which could dramatically increase the possibility of flash flooding. Locations worked over by multiple heavy storms could record more than 4 to 5 inches of rain.

Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (6)

Two of the homes on Arney Road in Sherwood Township destroyed by tornado Tuesday evening.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Joe Sutton, Amy Simonson,Lucy Kafanov, Rebekah Riess and Andi Babineau contributed to this report.

Waves of storms turn deadly in Tennessee and more twisters are hitting the state as night approaches | CNN (2024)


What time of year does Tennessee get the most tornadoes? ›

The most likely time for tornadoes to appear in Tennessee is March through May, but when conditions are right, tornadoes can appear at any time of the year. Take steps now to be prepared if a tornado strikes.

Will 2024 be a bad year for tornadoes? ›

In 2023, there were 1,423 reported twisters, roughly 18 percent higher than average. In 2024, we're on track to land somewhere between 1,250 and 1,375, trending toward another higher-than-average year.

What is the weather phenomenon of twisters? ›

A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris.

Are tornadoes violent rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground? ›

Tornado - A violently rotating column of air touching the ground, usually attached to the base of a thunderstorm. Tornadoes are nature"s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Winds of a tornado may reach 300 miles per hour.

Where is Tornado Alley in Tennessee? ›

Only three whole states are part of tornado alley: Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Parts of Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska, eastern Colorado and the northern part of Texas are considered part of the alley. Tennessee is not considered part of tornado alley, but the state has had its fair share of tornadoes over the years.

What county in Tennessee has the most tornadoes? ›

Since 1950, Davidson County has experienced 58 tornadoes. Wilson County has had 55 tornadoes, Sumner County 52, and Rutherford County 45. Over in West Tennessee, Shelby County has experienced 56 tornadoes since 1950.

What state has had the most tornadoes in 2024? ›

Typically each year, Ohio will see on average 21 tornadoes. That total was surpassed in early April. As of the afternoon of April 18, Ohio's total tornado count is at 35, which is a new record for the most tornadoes through the first three months of the year.

What state is likely to have the most tornadoes per year? ›

Texas leads the nation for the average number each year only because of its size. Surprisingly, when looking at how many tornadoes occur per fixed area then Florida leads followed by Kansas, and again surprisingly, Maryland.

What is the deadliest month for tornadoes? ›

What are the worst months for tornadoes? April, May and June are the most active months for tornadoes, due to the atmospheric conditions during that time of year, including an abundance of moisture in the air. Tornadoes are most often formed by supercell storms, the most violent type of thunderstorms.

Are twisters bigger than tornadoes? ›

Tornado and twister are different names for the same type of storm—a violently rotating column of air over land associated with a severe thunderstorm. Tornadoes range in diameter from metres to hundreds of metres and generally last from a few seconds up to half an hour.

Were the tornadoes in twister real? ›

The tornadoes in the film were created with computer animation.

What is the difference between a tornado and a twister? ›

Tornadoes & Twisters

Tornadoes are vertical funnels of rapidly spinning air. Their winds may top 250 miles an hour and can completely destroy well-made structures, uproot trees and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles. Twisters erupt in thunderstorms and are often accompanied by hail.

What is a violent tornado? ›

The most violent tornadoes have rotating winds of 250 miles per hour or more. They are capable of causing extreme destruction, including uprooting trees and well-made structures, and turning normally harmless objects into deadly missiles.

Where are tornadoes most likely to form? ›

In the U.S. they are most common in the central plains of North America, east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Appalachian Mountains. They occur mostly during the spring and summer; the tornado season comes early in the south and later in the north because spring comes later in the year as one moves northward.

What are the worst months for tornadoes in Tennessee? ›

According to the National Weather Service, Tennessee sees most of its tornadoes from March to May. During this time, the seasons are changing from the cold air of winter to the warm air of spring and summer.

Where are tornadoes most common in Tennessee? ›

Tornadoes can occur anywhere in Tennessee, but the western region tends to see more of these storms. They're especially common near major metro areas, with an estimated 40% of tornadoes touching down in the Nashville Economic Area.

What part of Tennessee is safest from tornadoes? ›

On average, East Tennessee does get fewer tornadoes than the middle and western parts of the state.

What is the busiest month for tornadoes? ›

Looking back on history, May is typically the most active month for tornadoes, averaging 294 each year. That's followed by April and June, each with an average of 212 tornadoes.


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