2. The Deadly Christmas Tornado of 1988
On Christmas Eve 1988 a tornado tore through Brentwood, killing one and injuring seven. Damage can be seen in this video created on Christmas Day. The video is also intersting as a look at how much less developed Brentwood was less than 30 years ago.
From the UPI newswire service, Christmas Day, 1988:
Families and business owners spent Christmas Day cleaning up the destruction caused by a tornado that tore through Williamson County, killing one person and causing up to $30 million in damage.
The tornado struck before dawn, killing 67-year-old Ernest Rice of Franklin as he slept. His wife lying beside him received only minor injuries. She was treated at a hospital and released.
One other person in the house was treated and released but five other residents were not injured.
Rice had buried his cancer-stricken daughter on Friday.
Authorities said the tornado destroyed 15 buildings and damaged 40 others.
Officials said all power had been restored to the area by Christmas Day. Dispatchers for the the Franklin and Brentwood Police departments said Sunday that many families and business ownrs were out cleaning up the damage caused by the twister.
The tornado hit portions of Franklin and Brentwood, two communities located just south of Nashville, touching down eight times in a six-mile stretch.
‘It’s just a guesstimate but if you take all those houses and businesses and assume they have to be rebuilt, it could easily be $25 million to $30 million,’ said Brentwood Mayor Harold McMurtry.
Officials said the tornado packed winds of 200 mph and was two blocks wide at the top of the funnel and 150 feet at the base.
Darrell Martin of the National Weather Service in Nashville said the storm ‘came out of nowhere.’
‘After looking over radar reports, I see no reason we would have instituted a tornado warning before it touched down. We’re lucky there weren’t more people killed,’ Martin added.
The entire Middle Tennessee area had been under a tornado watch, which means that conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado. A warning means that a funnel cloud had been sighted.
Martin toured the area Saturday and said he was surprised by the intensity of the twister.
‘I saw metal support posts wrapped around telephone poles. It shredded the sheet metal sides of a mini-storage building. The sheet metal was strung out in the trees for a half mile,’ he added.
‘It looked like a giant had thrown some tinsel in the trees.’