National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

January 30, 2013 Tornado Outbreak


A powerful upper level trough moved across the United States from January 29, 2013 into January 30, 2013. This system contained unusually strong winds aloft, with wind speeds of 80 mph just 2,500 feet above the surface and up to 150 mph at 20,000 feet.  A record warm airmass with temperatures in the 60s and 70s spread northward ahead of the system into the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, bringing weak atmospheric instability into the region. As a powerful cold front moved eastward across the Mid State during the early morning hours of January 30, a line of showers and thunderstorms known as a Quasi-Linear Convective System (QLCS) developed and raced through the area, producing numerous tornadoes and widespread wind damage.  This severe weather event resulted in 1 fatality and at least 3 injuries across the Mid State.

This tornado outbreak producted 24 confirmed tornadoes across Middle Tennessee, including 23 tornado tracks across the NWS Nashville forecast area and another EF1 tornado in Lincoln County confirmed by NWS Huntsville. This total of 24 tornadoes makes the January 30, 2013 event the largest January tornado outbreak in Middle Tennessee history, eclipsing the previous record of 12 tornadoes that occurred on January 24, 1997. It also makes January 30, 2013 the second biggest outbreak of tornadoes for any month in Middle Tennessee history, just behind the largest tornado outbreak on record which occurred on April 3, 1974. Also notable was that several of these tornadoes were the first January tornadoes ever recorded in many of the affected counties. Several of the tornado paths were updated in May 2020 due to newly available Google Earth high resolution satellite imagery.

Tornado Outbreak Map
January 30, 2013 Tornado Outbreak Map
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