National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

April 27 2011 - East Tennessee & Southwest Virginia
Tornado Outbreak Surveyed Tracks

  60 total tornadoes surveyed as of 300 PM EDT on 27 April 2012

On April 27, 2011, a historic outbreak of tornadoes occurred across the southeastern United States. This page is a summary of what happened in the WFO Morristown County Warning Area which covers east Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and extreme southwest North Carolina. The total tornado count across the WFO Morristown County Warning Area currently stands at 60.

Further information can be found at the links listed below:
Series of videotaped presentations on the event
Event Summary
Event mesoscale circulation map


EF Scale
NWS Branding Logo



One Storm Amongst Many

The morning, afternoon, and night of April 27, 2011 was remembered for being chaos—storms everywhere, tornadoes with many of the storms, multiple large tornadoes happening simultaneously.  But as have had time to understand more about this event, bring some order out of the chaos, here’s an example of a recent discovery.  We knew there was a really bad tornado near Chattanooga (in the Apison area) with multiple fatalities in both Bradley and Hamilton Counties.  We had known there had been multiple fatalities in Greene County in the Camp Creek area.  We knew south of our area of responsibility that Ringgold, GA had been hit really hard with multiple fatalities.  For this general area these seemed to be the worst tornadoes—each one with 6+ fatalities in the respective counties.  What did these storms have in common with each other; what could we learn???

 Pretty soon after the event it was realized that the Ringgold tornado crossed from Georgia into Tennessee and was the same tornado that caused the devastation in the Apison area.  What about Camp Creek what else had that storm done previous to its entering Greene County?  When checking on this storm via radar archive data it was very quickly realized that Ringgold/Apison storm had lots in common with the Camp Creek storm—as a matter of fact, the same storm—different tornado, but it was the same storm.  

 So the next question is ‘did this storm start in Catoosa County, GA just before hitting Ringgold?’  The answer is ‘no, not by a long-shot’.  This storm had been on a path of destruction for many hours already.  This storm had caused some of the fiercest damage of the day. 

 This Ringgold/Apison/Camp Creek storm started as a puff of a cumulus cloud near Jackson, MS along the banks of the Pearl River.  The puff grew into a storm very quickly, then a rotating storm, then by the time the storm reached Philadelphia, MS (80 miles to the ENE) it spawned its first tornado.  As a matter of fact this storm spawned many long-tracked tornadoes for many hours.  Most of its trip across Alabama it carried a large tornado.  All in all, this one storm had produced two EF4s and two EF5s, had tornado tracks totaling 267 miles, and a total of 71 fatalities in four states.

 Research has started on the Superoutbreak, but one likely avenue of research will be to discover why on a day that was a superoutbreak for tornadoes, why some storms were superstorms for many hours producing EF4s and EF5s while others produced lesser tornadoes and possibly no tornadoes in seemingly a similar environment.

Tornado Name and Strength Counties Affected Fatalities Injuries
Collegedale EF4 Hamilton, Bradley, Polk, McMinn 13 200+
New Harmony/Graysville EF4 Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea 4 10
Smoky Mountains EF4 Blount 0 0
Horse Creek EF3 Greene, Washington TN 2 0
Camp Creek EF3 Greene, Washington TN 6 33
Glade Springs EF3 Washington VA 3 50
E Cleveland EF2 Bradley, Polk, McMinn 3 0
Hopewell EF2 Bradley 0 1
Haletown/Nickajack EF2 Marion 0 0
E Dunlap EF2 Sequatchie 0 0
Lookout Valley EF2 Hamilton 0 0
Ducktown/S Fall Branch EF2 Greene, Washington TN 0 0
Butler EF2 Johnson 2 0
Red Bank EF1 Hamilton 0 0
Ooltewah EF1 Hamilton 0 0
Ridgeside EF1 Hamilton 0 0
East Ridge EF1 Hamilton 0 0
Birchwood EF1 Hamilton 0 0
St Elmo EF1 Hamilton 0 0
Cleveland EF1 Bradley 1 0
E Cleveland EF1 Bradley 0 0
SW Haletown EF1 Marion 0 0
N Dunlap EF1 Sequatchie, Bledsoe 0 0
Spring City EF1 Rhea 0 0
NE Englewood/S Madisonville EF1 McMinn, Monroe 0 0
NE Madisonville EF1 Monroe 0 0
S Madisonville EF1 Monroe 0 0
Abingdon EF1 Washington VA 0 0
Green Cove EF1 Washington VA 0 0
Smoky Mountains EF1 Blount 0 0
S Knoxville EF1 Knox 0 0
Newport EF1 Cocke 0 0
Del Rio EF1 Cocke 0 0
Harrison EF0 Hamilton 0 0
Hixson EF0 Hamilton 0 0
Ooltewah/West Cleveland EF0 Hamilton, Bradley 1 0
NW Cleveland EF0 Bradley 0 0
Hiwassee River EF0 Meigs 0 0
NE Madisonville EF0 Monroe 0 0
NW Tellico Plains EF0 Monroe 0 0
NW Tellico Plains EF0 Monroe 0 0
NE Athens EF0 Monroe 0 0
Jefferson City EF0 Jefferson 0 0
Seymour EF0 Sevier 0 0
Louisville EF0 Blount 0 0
E Greenback EF0 Blount 0 0
W Greenback EF0 Loudon 0 0
Farragut EF0 Knox 0 0
W Morristown EF0 Hamblen 0 0
N Hartford EF0 Cocke 0 0
Patriot Hills EF0 Jefferson 0 0
White Pine EF0 Jefferson 0 0
Reedy Creek EF0 Washington VA 0 0
McGaha Hollow EF0 Sevier, Jefferson 0 0
Houston Valley EF0 Greene 0 0
Mohawk EF0 Greene 0 0
NW Ooltewah EF0 Hamilton 0 0
Hamilton Bradley Collegedale EF4 Hamilton Lookout Valley EF2 Hamilton Red Bank EF1
Washington County VA EF3 Blount Smoky Mountains EF4 Monroe Tellico Plains EF2