Path length: 4.3 miles
Width: 880 yards
“It looked like somebody walked through with a broom and knocked over whatever was loose enough to knock down.” This was a quote from the photo editor, Fred Dye of the Leaf-Chronicle.
What would turn out to be the busiest January on record for tornadoes continued on January 22, 1999. 43 tornadoes occurred on this day, and one of the strongest devastated Clarksville, TN.
It struck the town at 415am CT. It moved a total of 4.3 miles through the downtown area and dissipated near Saint Bethlehem. There were 5 injuries and no fatalities.
A 5-block area of downtown was destroyed. 22 buildings were severely damaged at Austin Peay State University. The Montgomery County courthouse “was in ruins.” The Leaf-Chronicle newspaper office was severely damaged. Per the Storm Data Narrative, the newspaper set up a temporary office in Hopkinsville, KY. Several old churches were damaged. The Madison Street United Methodist Church lost its spires and roof. The roof was torn off of the Trinity Episcopal Church. A total of 124 buildings were destroyed, and 562 damaged.
Here is a note from the NWS Nashville Tornado Database about discrepancies found years later. “SHAMBURGER (2015): NCDC incorrectly lists the path length, location and time of this tornado, which were corrected based on radar data and a GIS damage map created by Dr. McCluskey, Professor of Geography at Austin Peay State University.” The discrepancies in this path length is that SPC/NCDC has 4.3 miles, the “correct” length is 6 miles.”
Radar and Damage Photos via NWS Nashville
Damage Photo Via FEMA
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