HARTSVILLE, Tenn. — The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado is what was caused damage in parts of Trousdale County during Saturday evening’s storms.
NWS Nashville conducted a storm survey today after receiving multiple reports of damage just north of Hartsville.
The survey found that an EF-0 tornado with peak winds of 85 mph touched down just to the east of Highway 231 near Bass Road in west-central Trousdale County and continued east along a path of 6.9 miles.
The tornado had a width estimated at 125 yards — about the length of a football field + end zones — and passed about 1.5 miles north of the city of Hartsville.
Along its path, the tornado caused weak damage near Highway 231 and intensified in the Walnut Grove and Sulfur College Road areas, where dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted, according to the National Weather Service.
A few homes sustained some minor roof damage with a few outbuildings and barns severely damaged. Additional trees were downed on Highway 141 and Halltown Road before the tornado lifted.
No injuries were reported.
The tornado is one of three to be confirmed so far from Saturday night’s storms.
A pair of EF-1 tornadoes touched down west of the Upper Cumberland — one in the Joelton area of Davidson County and the other in the Gladeville community of Wilson County (along a path that also included parts of Davidson and Rutherford Counties — with winds of 105 and 100 mph, respectively.
Additional surveys may be conducted in the coming days of other damage locations.
The threat of tornadoes Saturday evening was minimal but not zero.
A powerful cold front swept through Middle Tennessee late Saturday. Out ahead of the front, winds were gusting strongly out of the south as high as 45 mph at times, allowing temperatures to soar into the 60s after a period of chilly days.
Earlier in the week, severe weather did not appear to be a concern. It wasn’t until around Wednesday that forecast models began to hint at the possibility of there being a tiny bit of instability in the atmosphere — at least enough to generate a few thunderstorms.
By Friday, it looked as though we could see a stronger storm or two, but the overall severe weather threat remained rather low.
It wasn’t until Saturday, the day of, that the threat of severe weather became more apparent.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued by the Storm Prediction Center for all of Middle Tennessee during the early afternoon hours of Saturday — set to expire at 7 p.m. that evening — as a line of thunderstorms developed northwest of the state.
By 3 p.m., Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were already being issued for areas west of Nashville as the line of storms marched through the midstate.
The line of storms is what meteorologists refer to as a ‘QLCS’ or ‘quasi-linear convective system’. These are the more common type of severe weather system we see in Middle Tennessee, and especially in recent events, they seem to be what give us the most tornadoes.
Generally, tornadoes with these systems are on the weaker side and are brief, but as was the case in Hartsville, they can cause damage.
Below are a few photos taken by Trousdale County Emergency Services and posted to their Facebook page. To view the entire photo album, click here.