Severe weather is possible in the Big South Fork region on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, with the National Weather Service in East Tennessee warning that a "significant severe weather outbreak" is possible. This post will be updated as information becomes available.
10:30 AM, 03/1/2017
The line of storms has passed through western Scott County and has reached the U.S. Hwy. 27 corridor from Winfield to Robbins. There are reports of isolated power outages in the Robbins area, but no major damage. The terrain features of the northern Cumberland Plateau aided the weakening of the line of storms as it moved onto the plateau, resulting in little more than routine thunderstorms.
There is the possibility that more storms will clip the area later on, with a greater chance in the southern end of the county than the northern end. However, these storms will likely remain below severe limits.
A wind advisory remains in effect until midnight tonight for sustained winds of 15-25 mph and wind gusts to 50 mph. However, winds are expected to taper off this afternoon once the actual cold front arrives and passes through the region.
9:38 AM, 03/1/2017
Scott County is now under a severe thunderstorm WARNING until 10:30 a.m. Winds up to 70 mph and quarter-size hail are possible.
9:31 AM, 03/1/2017
McCreary County is now under a severe thunderstorm warning until 10 a.m., for 70 mph wind gusts. It's only a matter of time until Scott County is placed under a warning as well.
9:22 AM, 03/1/2017
Fentress County and Jamestown have now gone under a severe thunderstorm warning, which also includes Cumberland County/Crossville and Pickett County/Byrdstown.
9:18 AM, 03/1/2017
The tornado warning in the Dale Hollow Lake area has expired. The only active tornado warning is with the embedded supercell that is tracking towards Monterey. However, there are numerous severe thunderstorm warnings.
9:16 AM, 03/1/2017
A tornado-warned cell that is currently tracking through Putnam County as the line of thunderstorms advances eastward could eventually impact southern Scott County.
9:14 AM, 03/1/2017
9:08 AM, 03/1/2017
We are about an hour away from the storms arriving here in the Oneida/Huntsville area, give or take 10 or 15 minutes. Cookeville and Somerset are currently under a severe thunderstorm warning. There are two current tornado warnings, one extending into western Putnam County, and one extending into the Dale Hollow Lake area around Celina.
8:59 AM, 03/1/2017
Putnam County has just gone under a tornado warning. This is the same cell that produced the early warning around Franklin.
Meanwhile, a video of damage in the Cool Springs area in Middle Tennessee: https://m.facebook.com/videos/live/m/redirect/867370766738838/?_rdr
8:53 AM, 03/1/2017
A new tornado warning has been posted along the TN/KY border, including a portion of Clay County, as the line of storms approaches Dale Hollow Lake. These storms are still producing rotation in Middle Tennessee!
8:50 AM, 03/1/2017
There was a radar-indicated wind gust of 103 mph south of Brentwood a short while ago. That indicates the potential these storms have to pack a powerful punch with damaging straight-line winds.
8:34 AM, 03/1/2017
The tornado warning in the Franklin, Tenn., area has expired. Nashville news media reported eyewitness spottings of a funnel cloud, but no actual tornado has been confirmed. Still, the squall line is packing high winds and continues to move east at nearly 70 mph.
8:19 AM, 03/1/2017
No actual tornado has been reported with the warned storm cell in Middle Tennessee, as of yet. However, radar indicated rotation. Reminder: Middle Tennessee is under a tornado watch. So far, at least, our area of the Cumberland Plateau is "only" under a severe thunderstorm watch.
8:11 AM, 03/1/2017
A tornado warning has just been issued in Middle Tennessee, including Franklin, Brentwood and Smyrna. This indicates that radar has picked up on some rotation within the line of storms that is advancing through the region.
8:10 AM, 03/1/2017
Again, the northern Cumberland Plateau is under a "moderate risk" for severe weather today. A moderate risk, as defined by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, means there is a 45 percent chance of severe weather where you are.
8:05 AM, 03/1/2017
The NWS's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has just updated its severe weather threat outlook for today, and has placed our area under a "moderate risk" for severe weather. This is one rung below the top on the SPC's five-category risk assessment scale. It marks the first "moderate risk" for the northern Cumberland Plateau in a couple of years.
The line of thunderstorms continues to march east and is expected to arrive on the plateau by 11 a.m. Oneida Special School District is closed due to weather, but Scott County Schools are in session. The Boys & Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau is open.
8:02 AM, 03/1/2017
The latest storm damage reports in Tennessee include trees down in Stewart County and 65 mph wind gusts with half-inch hail in Dickson County. Most of the damage reports continue to come in from southern Kentucky.
7:58 AM, 03/1/2017
Nashville-Murfreesboro has just gone under a severe thunderstorm warning, until 8:30 a.m. EST, for 70 mph winds and nickel-size hail. The line continues to march eastward and is expected to reach the northern Cumberland Plateau by 11 a.m.
Reminder: Oneida Special School District is closed today due to weather.
7:55 AM, 03/1/2017
Based on current radar trends, it looks as if the strongest segment of the squall line marching through Middle Tennessee will go a bit south of Scott County. However, the entire line has the potential to produce damaging winds.
7:48 AM, 03/1/2017
In the new severe thunderstorm watch, just issued, the NWS says: Widespread wind gusts up to 75 mph are likely, isolated hail up to a quarter size is possible, and a couple of tornadoes are possible.
7:48 AM, 03/1/2017
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH has been issued for Scott, Campbell and Morgan counties, and the rest of East Tennessee, until 1 p.m.
7:46 AM, 03/1/2017
Wind damage reports are starting to come in from western Tennessee and Kentucky, with much of the focus in Kentucky or right along the TN-KY border. There are confirmed reports of numerous trees and power lines down in Paris, Tenn. (Henry County). Also reports of tree and power line damage in Obion County, Tenn. A tractor-trailer was blown over in Florence, Ky.
7:44 AM, 03/1/2017
A WIND ADVISORY took effect for Scott, Morgan and Campbell counties, and the rest of East Tennessee, at 7 a.m. this morning. The NWS says that sustained winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph are possible ahead of thunderstorms. The advisory remains in effect until midnight tonight, but the NWS says winds should taper off by this evening in our area. Currently, winds are relatively calm in Oneida.
7:41 AM, 03/1/2017
As mentioned below, a TORNADO WATCH is in effect for areas to our west until 11 a.m. It is worth noting, however, that all of the warnings in effect along this squall line that is advancing eastward are SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNINGS and not tornado warnings. That doesn't mean a tornado cannot occur. In fact, the National Weather Service's East Tennessee office this morning beefed up its language to say that a strong tornado cannot be ruled out. Thus far, however, tornadoes are not occurring.
7:39 AM, 03/1/2017
A TORNADO WATCH is in effect for Fentress, Pickett and Cumberland counties to our west, along with the rest of Middle Tennessee, until 11 a.m. EST. At present, there are no watches for Scott, Morgan and Campbell counties or for the rest of East Tennessee, but that is expected to change within the next couple of hours as a line of thunderstorms continues to progress eastward. As a refresher: a watch means that conditions are favorable; a warning means that it is imminent.
Reminder: Oneida Special School District is closed today due to weather.
7:36 AM, 03/1/2017
Oneida Special School District will be closed today. Scott County Schools are open. The Boys & Girls Club is open.
9:23 PM, 02/28/2017
The National Weather Service office in Nashville, which covers Middle Tennessee, has been slightly less bullish on tomorrow's anticipated severe weather than its counterpart in Morristown, which covers East Tennessee.
Here is NWS-Nashville's forecast discussion from earlier this evening:
"Still looking for a strong cold front to approach the Mid-State tonight, and then sweep across our area on Wednesday. The front is expected to enter our extreme northwestern counties around 9am CST, reaching the I-65 corridor by early afternoon, and then exiting the Cumberland Plateau by 4 pm or so. This remains a dynamic spring-like weather system, and will be accompanied by a 50 to 60kt 850mb jet. The main threat will be damaging straight line winds, especially from bowing segments in the line. However, can't rule out large hail and a few isolated tornadoes as well."
4:00 PM, 02/28/2017
This is not a forecast from the National Weather Service, but rather a discussion of the thinking that goes into the public forecast that the agency publishes. There's some technical language used, making it difficult for laymen to understand. Nevertheless, this is NWS-Morristown's afternoon forecast discussion on the potential severe weather episode tomorrow:
"A strong upper jet will move across the Ohio valley with another jet moving through the lower Tennessee valley. These jets will produce divergence aloft of the region with good upper forcing along a pre-frontal surface trough.
"This surface trough will move across during the area with the airmass becoming sufficiently unstable (MLCAPES of near 1000 J/Kg) so widespread thunderstorms anticipated. Due to increasing low-level jet in response to upper jet dynamics, the 850mb winds increase to 60kts+. The strong low-level jet combined with mid-level drying will set the stage for widespread damaging wind event. Derecho Composite Parameter values above 1 are likely based off SPC Ensembles.
"Enough speed shear to warrant a low chance of tornadoes as well especially near any book-end vortices and/or notches. Marginal severe hail is also possible."
3:54 PM, 02/28/2017
The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a special weather statement for tomorrow:
A significant outbreak of severe weather is expected on Wednesday as a strong cold front sweeps into the region from the west. In particular, there is an enhanced risk for thunderstorms capable of producing damaging straight-line winds during the afternoon and early evening across the entire area.
Additionally, these storms will be capable of producing large hail and potentially a few tornadoes. The main timeframe for severe weather will occur from roughly noon to 8 pm ET on Wednesday.
Besides the thunderstorm winds, strong southerly winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph across the higher elevations will develop area-wide Wednesday. Strong winds will remain possible in the higher terrain of the Southern Appalachian Mountains through Thursday morning.
Please stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio and other local media for further details or updates.
12:59 PM, 02/28/2017
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has issued its update convective outlook for Day 2 (Wednesday), and maintains an "enhanced" risk for severe weather over much of Middle and East Tennessee, including the northern Cumberland Plateau. An "enhanced" risk means there is a 30% chance of severe weather within 25 miles of any particular point.
12:56 PM, 02/28/2017
The NWS has narrowed down its timing a bit for the arrival of anticipated severe storms on Wednesday. A graphic published by NWS-Morristown this afternoon places the ETA between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow. Keep in mind that we likely won't experience four hours of constant severe threat; our threat will come and go rather quickly. But the exact timing is difficult for meteorologists to nail down 24 hours in advance.
12:51 PM, 02/28/2017
The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for all of East Tennessee, including Scott County, for Wednesday. The advisory will take effect at 7 a.m. and continue until midnight. Sustained winds of 25-30 mph and wind gusts to 50 mph are possible. Winds should begin to taper off after the frontal passage during the afternoon.