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North Smithville Tornado Labeled EF1; 100 Mile Winds

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
North Smithville Tornado Labeled EF1; 100 Mile Winds

100-mile-per-hour winds blew through Smithville Monday evening as an EF-1 tornado left trees down and a handful of homes damaged.

National Weather Service Lead Forecaster Sam Shamburger said tornadoes this size are fairly common in the Upper Cumberland. He said this one did not move very fast, traveling 3.3 miles in some 10 minutes. He said the storm pulsed, gaining and losing power rapidly, as it passed through Dekalb County and White County.

“Thankfully, most of the damage was to trees and some farm buildings,” Shamburger said. “But it did hit some homes along Highway 56, and based on the damage to those homes, we rated the tornado EF1.”

Meteorologists were on the ground in Dekalb County assessing damage and looking for clues on the storm. He said as the storm approached the Upper Cumberland and rolled through Williamson County, it dropped tennis ball-size hail before losing steam and eventually beginning to rotate, seemingly at the snap of a finger near Smithville.

The path length of the storm, according to Wednesday’s assessment was 3.3 miles, path width 150 yards.

Shamburger said more strong rotation was detected as the storm moved through White County, but no tornadoes touched down. He said winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour still left behind evidence of a strong storm cell.

“It still can produce some damaging wind on the ground, and we did get reports of some trees blown down across White County,” Shamburger said. “And that rotation also helps the thunderstorm produce large hail, and we heard about quite a bit of large hail across Middle Tennessee yesterday.”

The tornado was the first in middle Tennessee this year.

“March 31 through April 1, 2023, we had some tornados that were EF0 and EF1 in the Upper Cumberland,” Shamburger said. “We also had an EF1 in Morgan County back in April this year.”

He said any tornado stronger than that is a rarity in the region.


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