Tennessee recently suffered one of the worst disasters in the state’s history. Experts from the National Weather Service are trying to decide whether it was just one or several deadly tornadoes which formed after a fierce storm. This event left many homeless, and at least 25 dead. Nashville Public Adjusters are trying to figure out how much money all the damages will cost to repair, but as of now the figure is in the millions.
A Deadly Night
On March 3rd as the residents of Nashville and nearby Tennessee counties slept, a storm slowly began to move in. The storm quickly developed into a supercell, a particularly dangerous type of thunderstorm. Supercells have a constantly rotating updraft, creating ideal conditions for tornadoes. The twisters eventually reached EF-3 classification with a total wind velocity of 175 mph.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brendan Schaper commented on this phenomenon:
“This is how tornadoes happen. A lot of time in Middle Tennessee we see lines of strong to severe storms. Within those lines we can get quick little spin-ups. Those little quick spin-ups usually don’t offer us as much lead time because the tornadoes happen quickly and then they are gone.”
The supercell tore through the city of Nashville at around midnight, smashing car windows with giant balls of hail. The rain and wind also knocked down several power lines and left cars overturned. One of the biggest casualties from the storm was John C. Tune airport. Nashville Public Adjusters estimate approximately $93 million in damage. Tornados wrecked over 90 aircrafts, destroyed hangars and airfields.
Tornadoes at Tennessee State
The tornadoes also passed through Tennessee State University while students were on Spring Break vacation. Fortunately, there were no injuries at this location, but the agricultural program did suffer some losses. At least two university agricultural buildings were completely destroyed, and two calves died as a result with several injured goats. TSU’s lead goat researcher, Dr. Richard Browning, said “right now we’re trying to make sure the animals are sheltered, secured fence-wise, and that they have water and feed.” Nashville Public Adjusters currently estimate damages at around $20 million.
Celebrities Respond to the Tragedy
While the media published many estimated costs, it is still too early to take the toll of the whole disaster. Emergency management services are currently waiting on the state of Tennessee to lift restrictions on many areas so they can begin surveying. However, celebrities close to the country music capital have already begun to show their support. Garth Brooks shared in an interview with CBS:
“I am not a native son of Nashville, but they have taken me in and treated me like a native son,” he said. Brooks also commented on the response of the music community saying: “Music is usually the first one called. It’s a pretty safe bet that they’re going to show up, not just in numbers. But they’ll show up with a great attitude, and the future is ours in Nashville. It’s what we make it. We understand that. And we will take care of our future.”
There are still many tragic stories from this disaster left untold. One man was ripped out of his trailer home and later died in the hospital. Interestingly, the tornadoes followed the path of previous deadly twisters from 1933 and 1998. The monetary cost will come from Nashville Public Adjusters but the human toll will be a scar on Tennessee’s history.