Tornadoes in Tennessee on 2011/4/27


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The Tornado History Project generates approximate paths through separate historical archives provided by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Paths generated from the NCDC data are typically more detailed, but neither archive gives exact path information. There are several reasons that paths may be inaccurate:

  • Tornado touchdown and liftoff coordinates were recorded with only 2 digits of decimal precision (i.e. [33.72, -86.15] vs [33.71689, -86.15463]). As a consequence, the observed points on the map may be slightly off from actual. Note that beginning in 2009, up to 4 digits of decimal precision are given.
  • Coordinates have not historically been calculated via GPS (Global Positioning System). Thus, tornado touchdown and liftoff coordinates should be considered as estimates only.
  • Tornadoes may not have been in contact with the ground for the entire path as depicted on the map. Storm damage in any location depicted under the "path" should not be inferred.
  • Although paths are drawn as straight lines between any two sets of coordinates, the tornado may have "zigzagged" in some way.
  • Although paths are drawn as uniform thin lines on the map, it is likely that the tornado changed size over its lifetime. Damage in any location depicted under (or not under) the "path" should not be inferred.

Even with the above in mind, the data is the best available. If you see a path that is depicted incorrectly, please post a comment in the tornado forum indicating why you belive the path to be incorrect.

Paths generated from NCDC data are typically more detailed due to the way coordinates are listed in each archive:

  • SPC database - A maximum of 2 coordinates (touchdown and liftoff) is given for each tornado, or each state segment of a tornado if it is a multi-state tornado. Thus the vast majority of paths are depicted as simple straight lines.
  • NCDC database - Some tornadoes have mutliple sets of coordinates within any state, generally corresponding to entry and exit points by county. Thus, since more coordinates have been used to draw the path, the depicted path should be more accurate. Having said that, most tornadoes do not have additional path data in the NCDC archive. When they do, paths are drawn from the NCDC data.

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Summary   Definitions |?|

The following statistics and definitions are derived from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) historical tornado archive. The Tornado History Project can not guarantee the accuracy of the underlying data within the SPC historical tornado archive. However, the data as presented here is guaranteed to match the SPC data, except where noted.

Some definitions will not be given since they are obvious (i.e. "Date", "Time", etc...)
Special Note: This site uses a unique index number to identify each tornado. This index number is not a part of the official historical tornado archive.

E (Error) (tornado search table only) - A yellow box indicates that the tornado record contains a suspected error. A red box indicates that the tornado record contains an error and has been modified from the official source. Hover over the box for the error text.
Map/Forum (tornado search table only) - Clickable icons for further content related to a tornado.
State - The state or states affected by a tornado.
Fujita - The Fujita scale is an attempt to classify damage from a tornado. F0 being the least damaging, F5 the most. For 2007 and beyond, the Enhanced Fujita (EF) is given.
Fat. - The number of fatalities attributed to the tornado.
Inj. - The number of injuries attributed to the tornado.
Width - Width in yards. It is unclear if this indicates a maximum width or mean width.
Length - Length of tornado path in miles. Note the entire track length is not necessarily all on the ground (some tornadoes "hop and skip".)
Damage - Prior to 1996, this is a range by dollar amount. For 1996 and later, actual damage estimates are in millions.
Crop Loss - Added in 2007. Given in millions of dollars.
Lat/Lon - Contains two sets of coordinates:

  • Touchdown Latitude/Longitude - For single state tornadoes, and the overall record for multi-state tornadoes, the approximate touchdown location in decimal degrees. For the state specific records of multi-state tornadoes, entry point into the state in decimal degrees.
  • Liftoff Latitude/Longitude - For single state tornadoes, and the overall record for multi-state tornadoes, the approximate liftoff location in decimal degrees. For the state specific records of multi-state tornadoes, the exit or lift-off point from the state in decimal degrees.

St. #. - The state tornado number assigned to the tornado for that specific state for that specific year. Generally, state tornado numbers were assigned in the order the tornado occurred, but that is not always the case.
SPC # - The tornado number as assigned by the SPC. Tornado numbers are not unique and reset each year. Generally, tornado numbers were assigned in the order the tornado occurred, but that is not always the case.

Date(s) (yyyy-mm-dd)TornadoesFatalitiesHighest FatalitiesInjuriesHighest InjuriesLongest PathWidest Path
2011-04-27 - 2011-04-2772112 people72 people601 people335 people132 miles2200 yards
User Comments   (2)      
General Comment
2016-01-19 14:38:16
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Rank: F0

Now this event I remember VERY well!  They were talking about it on the news a week in advance to get ready that it was going to be large, long tracking wedge tornadoes all over the place and that we could be in for another 1974 here.  That got everybody's attention!  And it proved to be correct and even then some!  This was in the beginning stages of using the term "tornado emergency."  We had all heard "tornado warning" for years and it just didn't invite any kind of concern, "Yeah, yeah, yeah....sure.  I'll just wait until the sirens go off and then go look outside and see if I see anything."  Tornado emergency got our attention!

There were so many tornadoes on the ground at the same time the poor newscasters were having a hell of a time keeping up.  It just came more and more and more and more.  They could only spend a short time on each incident and I really applaud them!  They did a good job.  In our broadcast area we have a weather lady that is always on top of her game and she predicts the problem areas even before a warning is issued.  She's very good.  I have never heard so many warnings in my life!  There were hundreds of them!

We didn't get hit this time although it was scary but this does show you the mentality of employers in the south.  First and foremost my employer at that time wouldn't allow a TV in the office because, "You might watch Oprah!"  Instead of working we would be watching Oprah.  Whatever.  No radio either.  You are just wasting time!  If you hear the sirens then you can take cover.  Fortunately our sirens are very loud and you can hear them inside buildings.

There were warnings issued all over the place time and time again for hours.  Fortunately by that time technology had developed to where we could watch the live stream of the weather warnings online.  I could see what was coming!  Our building at that time was just a metal buildling like a warehouse building and about 60 years old.  On a slab.  No basement.  I never felt comfortable in there during tornado weather.  But I did go outside at one point to look at the sky and it was all green and yellow and sick looking.  It was deathly still and you could have reached up and touched the clouds.  The pressure was real heavy and you could taste it in your mouth it was so thick outside.  I had never seen clouds that low before.  I made the executive decision we were leaving that building and going to an employees basement that lived very close by.  I called my boss up and told him we were leaving and he said no, "Listen, if its your time to go then God will take you.  Now get back to work!"  I said, "God also gave me a brain to use to take shelter from this building that was built for a dollar 98!  I'm not staying here!  We are leaving!"  He said, "Just make sure you clock out before you leave and then call me the minute you return!  I will be checking your time cards!"

And that's the mentality in this area.  If you get hit, you get hit.  There's nothing you can do about it so until you get hit, keep working.

General Comment
2016-01-19 14:51:01
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Rank: F0

I had friends in Huntsville, Alabama.  She taught at a middle school that got hit and collapsed.  She was there for it all and was helping get kids out of the rubble.  Nobody was injuried or killed.  It was just very scary and difficult after the storm passed.  She finished there and went home and then another one came and hit her house.  

There was a flood of refugees coming into Tennessee from the Huntsville area.  Power was out until you got into Tennessee.  My friend was one very hysterical refugee coming back home to stay with her parents until it was all over.  She called me hysterical stating she was just at Hazel Green and about to run out of gas and that all the power was out and she couldn't get anymore gas and there were more tornadoes heading that way.  As usual - my boss said no.  I was going to take her some gas.  So I called her father and he just acted totally uninterested.  "IT'S YOUR DAUGHTER!!!  SHE IS IN DANGER!!  GO HELP HER!!"  So he finally went down.

My friend came into town and she told me all about her adventures and I said to her then, "And you want to stay in Huntsville why?  Didn't I tell you when you were thinking about it that this may happen?"  LOL.  She moved right back and there have been more scares.  I just don't understand why anybody would want to live there.  They get hit all the time.

I had forgotten about the refugees though.  All the hotels were booked solid.  People were cleaning out closets and giving clothes and things to people that were displaced.  We are only about 45 minutes from Huntsville and the major highway artery north comes right through here.  It was months and months before Huntsville got back to where things flowed freely again.  You can still see where the tornadoes went through to this day.  It was a good while before they got power and water restored.  We had people staying here for quite some time.  Some never went back.  They stayed here or moved on to Nashville.

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