Tornadoes – how they work, and information about Cookeville tornado history

*Information gleaned form my science book & online*

Tornadoes and hurricanes are some of the most dangerous weather phenomenon known to man.

America experiences over 1,000 tornadoes a year, with 1,520 in 2019.

A tornado forms out of a supercell thunderstorm, after a mesocylclone has formed. (After a mesocyclone has formed, there is a 50º/º chance a tornado will form in the next 30 minutes).

Tornadoes form as the result of updrafts that form thunderstorms. In the first stage of their development, the updraft of air that’s forming a cumulonimbus cloud begins being hit by winds blowing in a different direction at higher altitudes. Stage one: the whirl stage.

These winds cause air to begin rotating horizontally. Combined with the updraft, this makes a funnel, with air whirling around and up. This is often called the vortex.

Next, as the funnel touches the ground, we have our organizing stage. Once this happens, and a solid base is formed, along with the continued whirling vortex sucking up debris , we have a darker tornado – we’ve reached the mature stage, the worst one.

Eventually, the forces that hold the vortex together begin to dissipate, and the tornado grows smaller – the shrinking stage.

Finally, the tornado slowly disappears as it dies in the last stage – the decaying stage.Until March 3, 2020, the worst-ever recorded tornado in Cookeville was in 1974 – an EF-4 that claimed the lives of 10 people. Almost double 1974’s death toll, the fateful nigh of March 3 took 18 lives.

Cookeville has an average of 1 tornado a year. and one fatality a year. 79 tornadoes have occured here since 1950

According to the Washington Post, “Tornadoes spawned by the same parent supercell thunderstorm carved a 50-mile long path of destruction in Tennessee.”

5 children were among the eighteen dead.

The Enhanced Fujita scale rates tornadoes 0-5. The March 3,2020 tornado was an EF-4, which means it’s winds were in the 166-200 mph range. Cookeville winds were, in fact, 175 mph.

Up until this month, the last deceased due to a tornado in Putnam county was on 2012. (See last link.)

Cookeville’s storm’s ferocity exceeded Nashville. On the scale, Nashville’s was EF-3, with 165 mph winds.

The most destructive natural disaster in recorded Putnam County history brought out the best in people, with a vigil at the Putnam County Courthouse and a prayer meeting at Collegeside Church of Christ Tuesday night (Mar 3). Literally thousands of volunteers showed up to volunteer Wednesday morning.

Although their power varies, tornadoes can be truly devastating, and scientifically we still don’t fully comprehend how they form/work. But, although we know they’re scary and deadly, we also know ways to be careful, and that together we can triumph.



Tennessee Tornadoes – We rise

ckvlI live about an hour from Cookeville, Tennessee, a wonderful small city that just experienced an EF-4 tornado. (As if you’ve not heard 😉 ) EF-5 is the worst you can get, and the damage was huge. 500 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

Eighteen beautiful people died, including 4 year old Hattie Collins, one of 5 children to die on the early morning of Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The Collins family attend the same Church that I go to every Tuesday night to attend Celebrate Recovery meeting. I had been in a class taught by Mr. Collins this January.

A lady named Amanda Cole passed away. She was a nanny for a little boy named Dawson, who also died, along with his father. Amanda was a friend of one of my friends. Another friend’s daughter went missing, but was found safe. And yet another friend’s brother lost his house. So this tornado kinda hits close to home for my family and I.

Although I don’t literally live in Cookeville, it is a little like my backyard. It’s a really wonderful town. Which is why Cookeville is going to rise up beautifully from the rubble, clinging to the skies. Beauty from ashes. #CookevilleStrong.

Currently, Nashville has the below mural. Cookeville is going to get a “Cookeville strong” one shortly.


The devastation and grief is real in Nashville, Cookeville, Mt. Juliet, and everywhere affected by the tornadoes. The property and life lost is horendous. But the outpouring of love from people – TN residents, and truly people from across the country-  to the victims is also very real. Thousands of volunteers gathered early Wednesday morning to show support, clean the rubble, give out supplies, and generally comfort the hurting.

Interesting tidbit: I saw on Cookeville Strong’s new FB page (which already has over 22,000 members by the way), a meme that said that March 4th is the only day that tells you to do something, and indeed we did. So many volunteers marched forth.

My Dad and brother were able to do this as well. They have such wonderful hearts,  along with evidently so many others. If you are/were a volunteer/medic/government official reading this, thank you very much for everything you have done to assist Cookeville, Nashville, and elswhere. Thank you.

Below are pictures taken at/near the site where my Dad, brother, and 250+/- other volunteers gathered.

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People are really coming together. If you have ever doubted humanity, you can stop now!! So many prayers have gone up. People are thinking outside the box, doing anything in their power to help. Bracelets are being sold that say CKVL STRONG, with all the profits going to the tornado fund. People are coming from all over to volunteer, donate items, and give support.

And God is with us. One news report states that ‘Everyone single person mentioned God’.

Something really touching to me is this; Visiting a friend’s church last Sunday, the closing song was “Raise a Hallelujah”. It’s nice song, and I’d say I liked it, but it has since gotten much more special… Someone posted it on FB in regards to the tornadoes, and quoted this phrase from it;

“I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive! 🙌
God knew we were going to get those awful tornadoes, and he was whispering, “I’m going to be with you in that storm – in every storm of life, literal as well as spiritual, emotional, etc. I am here.”
No matter what political party you are in, it’s incredible news that President Donald J.Trump visited Cookeville, on foot, last Friday. I walked into Wendy’s that afternoon to see him on T.V. live on he ground!trumpcookeville
So, sing a little louder. We will rise together!!
Yah’s girl