National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

March 2-3, 2020 Tornadoes


From late in the day on March 2 into the early morning hours on March 3, several supercell thunderstorms spawned numerous tornadoes across southeast Missouri, southern Kentucky, Tennessee, and central Alabama. One of these supercells formed near the Mississippi River in West Tennessee, then tracked eastward across the entire length of the state spawning numerous tornadoes and dropping large hail up to the size of baseballs in some areas. The worst of these tornadoes touched down across Middle Tennessee during the early morning hours of March 3, 2020, resulting in widespread damage, hundreds of injuries and 25 fatalities. These tornadoes were the worst seen in Tennessee since the devastating tornadoes of April 27, 2011 across East Tennessee, as well as the Super Tuesday tornadoes on February 5-6, 2008.

Damage surveys conducted by NWS Memphis, NWS Nashville, and NWS Morristown determined 10 tornadoes touched down across the state of Tennessee, with 7 of these tornadoes affecting Middle Tennessee. The two strongest and most damaging tornadoes were an EF-3 tornado that tracked over 60 miles across the Nashville metro area eastward to Smith County, as well as an even stronger EF-4 tornado that caused severe damage in central Putnam County between Baxter and Cookeville, TN. Incredibly, this EF-4 tornado dissipated just blocks west of the heart of Cookeville. All of these tornadoes were moving at extremely fast speeds up to 65 mph!

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Webpage Last Updated:  2/24/2021

Tornado Outbreak Map
March 2-3, 2020 Tornado Outbreak Map
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