Tennessee averages roughly 50 days of thunderstorms every year. The other somewhat unenviable statistic is the state average of 15 tornadoes annually. Plus, Tennessee leads the nation in total tornadoes that have fatalities.
In this article, we’ll look specifically at average wind speed in our state, followed by thunderstorm wind speeds and their impact on your home.
Windiest Cities and Towns in Tennessee: Average Wind Speed
We’ve sifted through the average wind speed information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Tennessee for the highest average wind speed. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.
|6. Shelby Forest||8.8|
|17. Spring Creek||8.4|
Windiest Cities and Towns in Tennessee: Thunderstorm Winds
Average wind speed gives us a hint of local conditions. But thunderstorm winds show us where the action is.
We’ve reviewed NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information’s Storm Events Database. In the range of Nov. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2020, they identified 89 locations affected by thunderstorm winds.
Here are the top 20 ranked by recorded wind speed. Note that duplicate listings of the same town or same thunderstorm at the same or lower wind speed have been omitted from our ranking.
|1. Mount Pisgah, White County||83|
|2. Browntown, Cumberland County||83|
|3. Five Points, Giles County||78|
|4. Baptist Ridge, Clay County||74|
|5. Pea Ridge, Lawrence County||74|
|6. Old Zion, White County||74|
|7. Tazewell, Claiborne County||70|
|8. Barnes Store, Coffee County||70|
|9. McBurg, Lincoln County||70|
|10. Beechwood, Bedford County||70|
|11. Highland Park, Loudon County||70|
|12. Union City, Obion County||70|
|13. Paris, Henry County||70|
|14. Flat Rock, Smith County||70|
|15. Cottonwood, Lake County||70|
|16. Line Spring, Sevier County||69|
|17. Bufords, Giles County||65|
|18. Bruceton, Carroll County||65|
|19. Oakley, Overton County||65|
|20. Glover Hill, Marion County||65|
The top two listed thunderstorm winds happened on March 29, 2020, and caused a combined $7 million in damage. This included hundreds of trees snapped and uprooted, roofs damaged or lost, barns and outbuildings destroyed, and a train blown partially off the tracks.
Winds in Our Hometowns
We’ve looked a little bit closer into the locations in Tennessee where we have offices.
Nashville’s average wind speed is 8 mph. On May 3, 2020, the Nashville Airport reported winds of 62 mph with gusts up to 71 mph, which is the fifth-highest on record. That storm has been classified as a derecho, the worst straight-line wind event since the derecho of July 2004. Total damage from the 2020 storm across Middle Tennessee was estimated at $16 million, with power lost to 130,000 customers for up to one week.
Knoxville’s average wind speed is 6 mph. But the storm on March 29, 2020, that hit much of Tennessee brought winds of 61 mph.
Chattanooga’s average wind speed is also 6 mph. Storms, of course, happen from time to time. The big one in 2020 brought wind gusts up to 61 mph at Lovell Field on April 12.
Impact on Your Home from Winds and Storms
The National Weather Service has built a wind estimation scale designed to provide observers with a way to judge wind speed. Here are the details.
Strong winds can do a great deal of damage to trees, utility lines, signs, outbuildings, and homes. Plus, the flying debris can cause further damage. That’s been readily apparent with the thunderstorm winds throughout Tennessee.
We’re hopeful that high winds won’t damage your home’s foundation. Even so, rainwater driven by wind can find its way into your basement or crawl space if there are any cracks or if the water accumulates around your home.
We recommend that you consult the professionals at AFS Foundation and Waterproofing Specialists for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for heavy winds and rainfall.
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