No EF-3 or greater tornadoes reported in May, but Middle Tennessee on track to pass tornado totals from previous year


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Earlier this week the Storm Prediction Center announced that for the first time in recorded history, there were no EF-3 or stronger tornadoes for the month of May in the United States.

That is good news, but here in Middle Tennessee there certainly was no shortage of smaller tornadoes last month.

They were all EF-0 tornadoes, but we had a total of 16 in May and 14 of those happened on just one day.

Krissy Hurley, National Weather Service Warning Coordinator Meteorologist explains how unusual that was.

“The May 4 event where we had 14 different tornadoes, that event was really unusual for this area because all fourteen tornadoes occurred during the morning hours,” Hurley said. “And as most people know around here, our peak tornado time period is in the afternoon, evening or overnight hours.”

There were two more EF-0 tornadoes on May 28, one in Putnam and one in Overton County. Even though they were also EF-0s, they were still dangerous.

At Clydesdale Farms in Rickman in Overton County, two people were inside a barn when an EF-0 with 80 mph winds toppled two trees onto the structure, causing it to collapse.

Luckily, there were only minor injuries.

“That tornado is exactly what we think of when we think of these quick spin up tornadoes,” explained Hurley. “They are moving very fast. The rotation in them is very, very fast, and that’s enough wind to cause quite a bit of damage to uproot trees, barns, out buildings.”

So, with all the tornadoes in May, how is the year 2021 stacking up so far?

“In a given year, we usually have 17 tornadoes for the entire year in Middle Tennessee,” explained Hurley. “Last year we had 21 for the entire year. So far, we already had 22 and we still have our secondary tornado season this fall.”

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