We, here in Tennessee, did not escape unscathed. The first night of the 3 day event, we had 80+mph winds and I thought surely the roof was coming off. Several rows of shingles were ripped off, but the sound was awful, as they were torn away. I watched a tree fall from my window, but the next morning came the bigger surprise. A huge oak was pulled up from the ground behind the property where I live and all the trees around it were mangled and shredded. Also, I found evidence of rotation, as our property fence was twisted in a few places. As time passes, I'm learning that Jackson was hit fairly hard, but NWS stated that we had straight line wind damage.
This morning, I heard that NWS had concluded that the city of Counce near Pickwick Dam in West Tennessee had experienced an F2 twister. The damage there was even more intense than ours. Chattanooga had 3 or 4 twisters and near us, two funnels were sighted, but no complete touch down was reported. I have pictures on my camera of the wall cloud as it moved through and it was very intimidating. I'll try to upload them today to Flickr.
I've been to Tuscaloosa before and I know why their city was so devastated. Once one passes Birmingham going south, the land is flat. When a tornado strikes on flat earth, it has a tendency to stay down. Hilly terrain will, at least, provide an impetus for a twister to bounce or elevate before it touches down again, thereby sparing structures and lives. Here in Jackson, where we've had a couple of F4's in the past 10 years that cost us a total of 18 lives, the tornadoes' path of damage has been on a flat plain and a known tornado path. The last one was awful. I was living in a brick home at the time and the softball size hail and 100+mph winds from the core of the super cell a mere mile away completely chewed up the roof and knocked out every window on one side of the house.
My heart goes out to the folks in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, and for the families of the 14 lives lost here in Tennessee. Tonight begins another 3 day event here that could well turn out to be just as extensive for damage. We'll have to wait and see.
South Carolina was very fortunate. The storms passed from Georgia to North Carolina. We had a little wind, but 20 miles north of my house in NC there were multiple tornadoes.
John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D., AJP
Geologist and Gemologist
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
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