NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While no fatalities occurred in the News 2 viewing area from the severe storms and tornadoes of March 31 – April 1, it is a fortunate reminder about the increased danger of nocturnal tornadoes and their deadly power at a time when most people are not awake.

A 2008 research paper conducted by Northern Illinois University’s Ashley Et Al. says in the period of midnight to sunrise, tornadoes are more than “two-times likely to be fatal compared to those tornadoes occurring during daylight hours.”

The research looked at tornadoes from 1950 to 2005. In Tennessee, nearly 46% of the tornadoes that touched down happened in the nighttime hours. In fact, it was the Deep South states that saw the bulk of nocturnal tornadoes compared to other parts of the country.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Nashville, there have been five deadly tornadoes in Middle Tennessee that occurred between 12 AM – 6 AM since 2000.

3/3/2020Davidson, Wilson, SmithEF-32205
11/6/2018Rutherford, BedfordEF-231
11/10/2002Montgomery, RobertsonEF-102

In general, most of our tornadoes occur in the evening to early morning hours. Read more about tornadoes in Middle Tennessee here.

Preparing for nighttime storms

During severe weather season (March – May), Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky typically see severe weather in the late afternoon through the overnight hours. When weather events occur in the nocturnal hours, designate a member of your house to “Be The Hero”. This means sacrificing sleep to stay alert of the weather so you can respond quickly.

While this is not always possible, another option is to prepare your safety room and plan before going to bed. In the nighttime hours, time is extremely valuable because our response time is slower. Thus, when a weather warning is issued for your location, you can respond and react quickly to seek shelter.

We stress the importance of having multiple ways to receive weather information. A NOAA Weather Radio & the News 2 Weather App are the best ways to get weather alerts quickly.

Don’t forget to take the power and reliability of the WKRN Weather Authority with you at all times by downloading the News 2 Storm Tracker app.