Tornado outbreak leaves behind damage in Tennessee, Kentucky

Supercell thunderstorms were one of many impacts from a large storm system that promised to produce snow, wind and heavy rainfall for portions of the eastern U.S.

The Storm Prediction Center received nearly a dozen reports of tornadoes in Kentucky and Tennessee on Saturday, triggering the FOX Weather Center to declare the December 9th event a tornado outbreak.

Officials in Montgomery County said they have confirmed at least three deaths and nearly two dozen injuries as a result of a tornado that tore through the Clarksville area, one of the largest cities in Tennessee. Officials in Nashville confirmed there have been at least three deaths there after a tornado ripped across the northern side of the metro area.

First damage reported in Rutherford, Tennessee

The first Tornado Warning was issued about 12:30 p.m. local time and was in effect for communities such as Rutherford, Dredson and Gleason in the northwestern part of the Volunteer State. The warning was later declared a "Particularly Dangerous Situation" due to radar and observation reports.

The impacted area is about a two-hour drive outside of Nashville, and the supercell stayed together long enough that warnings were issued in southern Kentucky.

Emergency management in Gibson County was quick to report damage from a tornado and described it as being "significant."

Photos and videos taken after the storm showed flipped vehicles, extensive tree damage and a roof that was torn off a fire station.

Officials in Gibson County did not immediately report if there were any injuries tied to the severe storms.

"Numerous poles downed or broken in Rutherford area," Gibson Electric Membership Corporation posted on Facebook, adding nearly 4,500 people were without power in the community and 60,000 in the state, according to data from

Homes reported to be damaged near Tennessee-Kentucky line

The same supercell is credited for producing a tornado in nearby Clarksville, which meteorologists tracked into the Blue Grass state. 

Powerlines were reported to be down and some roadways were blocked by debris.

"Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to the area and confirmed damage to several homes. A preliminary search was conducted to locate residents and ensure safety. At this time, we do not have any confirmed casualties or missing persons but are continuing to assess the area. Emergency personnel are following up with another, more thorough search", the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said.

A traffic camera caught video of the storm passing through the northern part of the Volunteer State.

A significant tornado debris signature was detected on radar, which is an indication that the twister was likely strong as it traveled northeast into Kentucky.

Weather spotters reported widespread damage around the town of Gutherie in Todd County, Kentucky.

Nashville-area tornadoes

Storms developed close enough to downtown Nashville that tornado sirens were sounded, and a Tornado Warning was issued on Saturday evening.

The Storm Prediction Center issued Tornado watches from Kentucky through Mississippi and Alabama until after sunset.

As the moisture builds and strong wind shear – the change in wind speed and direction with height – develops, more severe weather is likely in the alerted area.


NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a Level 2 out of 5 risk for severe thunderstorms in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. A Level 3 risk has been highlighted for portions of west-central Tennessee, northern Mississippi and extreme southern Kentucky.

The primary concerns are for tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall.

Rain pushes eastward for Sunday

By Sunday, the rain and windy conditions will be the big weather story across the South and much of the eastern U.S. Areas in far northeastern Georgia, along with parts of North Carolina and Virginia, could see up to 3 inches of rainfall by Monday.

The FOX Forecast Center said the threat of strong to severe thunderstorms will still exist by Sunday as the system shifts farther east, stretching from Tallahassee, Florida across the southeast and into the mid-Atlantic.

The biggest threats are damaging winds and a few brief tornadoes, according to the SPC.

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