SMITH COUNTY, Tenn. — The National Weather Service conducted a storm survey of the Hiwassee community of Smith County today and concluded a weak, EF-0 tornado touched down during Wednesday’s storms.
The tornado traveled along Hiwassee Road for 2.1 miles and had maximum winds estimated at around 75-80 mph.
Two barns were uplifted and destroyed in the tornado, and dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
Electricity was knocked out in many areas as a result of the storm, including the Rock City and Rome communities.
Power was restored not long after the storms passed.
Numerous tree limbs were also brought down throughout the areas impacted.
The findings from the damage survey are preliminary and subject to change.
For more weather-nerdy details about the storm, scroll down a bit.
Smith County was included in the Storm Prediction Center’s Marginal Risk (1 out of 5) area of severe weather in their Day 1 Convective Outlook Wednesday.
Only localized severe weather was anticipated in the area with more widespread storms expected farther east.
Hiwassee Road just happened to be that “localized” area.
At 11:31 a.m., the National Weather Service office in Nashville issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a storm cell that was growing in strength in Wilson County moving northeast at 25 mph, with damaging winds in excess of 60 mph and nickel size hail both possible.
Over the next few minutes, radar showed signs of a hook echo developing, which indicates a potential area of rotation. However, velocity profiles (wind speed/direction estimate) were not evident enough to warrant the issuance of a Tornado Warning.
The hook echo only lasted for a couple of scans as the cell passed over the Hiwassee Road area and was quickly absorbed back into the parent thunderstorm.
A more potent, potentially widespread severe weather event looks possible Saturday afternoon through Sunday, so stay weather-aware and consult with multiple reliable weather sources to stay informed.