Lessons from an EF-0 Tornado

NEXRAD radar images of a storm which produced an EF-0 tornado in Franklin, TN on Thursday.

On Thursday, a cold front was dropping south into Middle Tennessee triggering scattered showers and storms.  My daughter and I watched one of the storms intensify as it moved from south Nashville into Williamson County toward Franklin.    On radar, I commented to my daughter that the storm was rotating.  She asked, “Is it going to produce a tornado?”  I told her that the rotation was strengthening and we’d have to see.  About two hours later, the National Weather Service in Nashville sent out a message saying they were going to conduct a storm survey for Franklin the next day.  I began looking for some more information and turns out, the storm that my daughter and I were watching produced a small EF-0 tornado which downed several trees and then moved across a baseball park filled with little league players and parents.  Fortunately, there were no serious injuries but I was amazed to see pictures of the park’s parking lot with cars flipped over.  This small, hard to detect, relatively weak tornado had flipped over several cars.  A mother and her toddler daughter were in one of the cars that rolled over when the small tornado hit and were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.   They were fine but the lesson here is one for all of us to remember:  ALL tornado warnings should be taken seriously.  It doesn’t take an EF-3 or EF-4 to flip cars and cause injuries and deaths.  This tornado had maximum winds of only 85 miles-per-hour but was still strong enough to wreak havoc at Jim Warren Park in Franklin.  In March, a small tornado struck a mobile home in a rural area in southern Illinois.  A woman inside the trailer was killed as her home rolled off the foundation and collapsed.  This tornado was ranked an EF-1 – again, a relatively weak storm but strong enough to cause a woman to lose her life.  As we exit April and begin the month of May, more storms with the potential for producing tornadoes will likely strike many parts of the country and everyone should let these events serve as a reminder that ALL tornadoes are dangerous and ALL need to be respected.  When the next tornado warning is issued for your community, make sure to take it seriously and seek shelter.  Don’t wait; act quickly.  Just ask the woman who was in her vehicle in Jim Warren Park if she thinks tornadoes should be taken seriously.  I think her answer would be a resounding, “Yes!”

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