Tennessee Tornado Season Facts

Protect Yourself With Facts About Tennessee Tornadoes

facts about the tornado season in Tennessee

Tornadoes are a reality of life in the American Midwest. While we often associate these severe storms with Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, tornadoes are just as dangerous further eat. Tennessee, in particular, has seen its fair share of damaging and unpredictable twisters. Although you can't move your home out of harm's way, you can prepare for severe storms and tornadoes with help from Ground Zero Shelters. We're dedicated to helping Tennessee residents keep themselves and their families safe from raging tornadoes. Get the facts on tornadoes in TN.

Tennessee Is the Heart of Dixie Alley

We've all heard "Tornado Alley" brought up when talking about the most damaging storms of the last century. However, Tornado Alley doesn't encompass all areas affected by gale-force winds and flying debris. Tennessee forms part of what is called Dixie Alley, an extension of Tornado Alley that refers to the parts of the American Southeast with a high risk of tornadoes. In addition to Tennessee, Dixie Alley also includes parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

When Is Tornado Season in Tennessee?

Peak tornado season in Dixie Alley occurs in May and June. Storms are most common in the spring months due to the ideal atmospheric conditions for tornado formation. However, that isn't to say that tornadoes can't form during other parts of the year. After the spring months, November has the highest average number of tornados, so it's crucial to always be vigilant for these storms. Though tornadoes are possible all year long, the number of tornadoes occurring in the winter, fall, and summer combined is still drastically less than the number of spring tornadoes.

Are Tennessee Tornadoes More Dangerous?

While tornadoes themselves aren't more dangerous in Tennessee than in other states, extenuating circumstances make the devastation worse. For one, Tennessee has the highest proportion of tornadoes forming at night, meaning even well-prepared people may be caught off guard. What's more, Dixie Alley is home to a larger population living in mobile homes. These residents are especially vulnerable to tornadoes, as their homes can be swept off the ground and destroyed with much less force than a traditional house.

Do Tornadoes Tend to Come at Night?

Tennessee experiences more night tornadoes than other states. More than half of all tornadoes in Tennessee occur at night, which makes it difficult to alert the public of the danger. Researchers have found that night tornadoes often move faster than daytime tornadoes and tend to behave unpredictably. Because you may only have a moment's notice, having a safe room or storm shelter nearby is essential.

Do Large Lakes Protect Against Tornadoes?

It's a common myth that living near a large lake means you won't have to worry about a tornado touching down. While the cold water combined with cool air creates sub-optimal conditions for tornadoes, other atmospheric conditions can override the benefits of the lake. Those who live near lakes are at increased risk of waterspouts—tornadoes that occur over water.

Where Are Tornados Most Common?

Tornadoes can occur anywhere in Tennessee, but the western region tends to see more of these storms. They're especially common near major metro areas, with an estimated 40% of tornadoes touching down in the Nashville Economic Area. The counties with the highest tornado counts include:

  • Davidson
  • Shelby
  • Wilson
  • Sumner
  • Lawrence
  • Rutherford

Tennessee Tornado Average Over the Last 10 Years

Officials have been keeping count of tornadoes in Tennessee since 1950, and unfortunately, tornadoes have only become more common in the last century. Take a look at the total tornadoes recorded each year in the past decade:

  • 2022—5
  • 2021—67
  • 2020—35
  • 2019—20
  • 2018—25
  • 2017—34
  • 2016—11
  • 2015—19
  • 2014—24
  • 2013—47

Install a Storm Shelter on Your Property Today

Tennessee tornadoes may be difficult to predict, but that's why it's so important to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Ground Zero Shelters is proud to offer top-quality storm protection for customers across the Plains and Midwest. Our professionals will listen to your circumstances and recommend the storm shelter best suited to your needs. Contact us today.

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