19 years ago: Deadly November tornado outbreak sweeps across Middle Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On November 10, 2002, a total of eight tornadoes touched down across the mid-state affecting seven counties.

The first fatalities occurred just after midnight near the Montgomery/Robertson County line when an F-1 tornado killed a man and his wife on Port Royal Road when their mobile home was lifted off its foundation and hurled across the street.

Sumner County

About an hour later in east Robertson and Sumner Counties, an F-2 tornado injured six people when seven homes were destroyed and fifteen homes suffered major damage. The worst destruction was on Glen Haven Road where two mobile homes were destroyed and blown off their foundation. Eighteen outbuildings, sixteen barns and two churches were also damaged.

Later that afternoon and evening, Coffee County was hit by two tornadoes. The second, an F-2, started in Bedford County and then killed two people in the New Union community in Coffee County. A man died when his mobile home was tossed fifty yards across a field. His family was injured but survived.

Coffee County in the New Union Community

Unfortunately, a neighbor’s two-bedroom home suffered the same fate, killing a ten-year-old boy.

Video of a cross with his tennis shoes hanging over it has stuck in my mind for the last nineteen years, as the next day, we saw the result of this terrible tragedy.

Coffee County in the New Union Community

Later that evening, Cumberland County was struck by three tornadoes. The last, an F-3, struck the Lake Tansi area and the southern sections of Crossville, killing four people and injuring 18. Thirty-three homes and mobile homes were destroyed and 128 were damaged. The heaviest damage was along Lantana Drive, Dunbar Road and Pigeon Ridge Road.

Cumberland County

So, now that we are getting into the fall months with more active cold fronts and jet streams, have a plan for when a tornado warning is issued for your area.

Special thanks to our National Weather Service and Lead Forecaster Sam Shamburger for the information and storm survey data supplied for this story.

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