National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A complex of severe thunderstorms called a MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) developed across southern Kansas on Saturday night, May 2, 2020, then tracked eastward across southern Missouri and western Kentucky during the morning of May 3, 2020 before reaching Middle Tennessee in the afternoon. These storms produced widespread straight-line wind damage across nearly every county of Middle Tennessee, with numerous trees, power lines, and buildings damaged. Some of the worst damage occurred across the Nashville metro area, where winds between 60-80 mph knocked out power to over 130,000 customers - the worst power outage on record for the city. A peak wind gust of 71 mph was measured at the Nashville International Airport, which is the 5th highest on record at that location. Other areas with severe wind damage included Smith, Dickson, Lewis, Lawrence, Maury, Bedford, and Coffee Counties which also saw tens of thousands of customers lose power. Sadly, 1 man was killed and 3 other people were injured by falling trees due to the storms. Early indications are that this windstorm will be considered a "derecho", which is a unique form of MCS that causes major wind damage over hundreds of miles. This was also likely the worst straight-line wind event across Middle Tennessee since the July 13, 2004 derecho.

Shelf cloud approaching Hwy109 at I-40 near Lebanon, TN on May 3, 2020
photo by NWS Nashville meteorologist Brendan Schaper

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