National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Saturday, October 26, 2019 began with the western two-thirds of Middle Tennessee under a Wind Advisory. A tightening pressure gradient, due to an approaching low pressure system (remnants of Tropical Storm Olga), produced wind gusts of 40+ mph in many locations. As the remnant tropical low approached from the south, reports of widespread wind damage were arriving out of north Mississippi and western Tennessee. Near the center of low pressure, a localized area of intense winds around 5 to 10 miles wide developed. These winds were not run-of-the-mill, thunderstorm-caused severe wind gusts, but hurricane-like severe winds driven by pressure falls near the center of former Tropical Storm Olga, and were accompanied by only light to moderate rain with no lightning or thunder.

By 2:30 PM CDT, video footage of tractor trailers blown over on I-40 E was rolling in. That footage helped to verify a strong wind core, as seen by KHPX and KOHX, racing northeast into western Middle Tennessee. This prompted a severe thunderstorm warning (for winds est. 70 mph) for Humphreys, Dickson, Houston, Stewart, and Montgomery counties. Though winds of 100+ mph were being sampled by the HPX radar site around 2,000-3,500 feet, it is believed that these speeds did not reach the surface. Regardless, severe winds estimated between 70 and 90 mph did reach ground level and produced widespread damage across western Middle Tennessee. For example, portions of the Clarksville Airport and Clarksville Speedway were affected and over 40,000+ power outages occurred in and around Clarksville alone. Other locations from northwest Perry County across central Humphreys County, eastern Houston County, and western Montgomery County experienced widespread downed trees and power lines, along with some minor structural damage to homes and a few house fires. Many residents were without power for 1 to 2 weeks.

This event goes to show that high winds, whether they are from a thunderstorm or an area of low pressure, can produce impressive damage regardless of how it was actually generated.

Radar Loop (Storm-relative motion) of severe winds
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