A well-documented violent tornado: Looking back at the April 7, 2006 Tornado Outbreak

Gallatin Tornado

From the News 2 Archives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Fifteen years ago, a powerful low-pressure system and cold front interacted with warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, producing conditions that spawned 73 confirmed tornados from April 6-8, 2006.

On April 7, 2006, nine tornadoes touched down in Middle Tennessee, including two violent F-3 tornados. Ten people were killed, and hundreds injured as a result.

In Middle Tennessee, there have been 88 violent tornadoes rated F-3 or higher since records started being kept in 1811. Out of those 88 tornadoes, 55 percent occurred at night, while 45 percent occurred during the daylight hours. On April 7, 2006, the first tornado touched down at 11:49 a.m. and the last at 5:28 p.m.

Gallatin 2006 Tornado
Picture from the News 2 archives

The so-called “Gallatin” tornado is the one that many remember in the most detail from that day. At 1:06 p.m. the tornado touched down in Davidson County and quickly moved into Sumner County. The path of destruction from this F-3 tornado stretched from Goodlettsville into Hendersonville and Gallatin.

What’s interesting about this tornado is how well-documented it was. Catching a tornado on camera was not as easy in 2006 before the smartphone era took hold. However, a video from the News 2 archives shows footage of the tornado on a flip phone!

Multiple cameras caught this tornado as it wreaked havoc on Sumner County. Dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed as the tornado moved through, including many buildings on the Volunteer State Community College Campus, which sustained $9 million in damage.

Despite students and staff being present that day at Vol State, no one was killed or seriously injured on campus that day.

Unfortunately, seven people in Gallatin were killed that day. In total, around 700 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in Sumner County alone.

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