SPC Stats

Path length: 6 miles

Width:  150 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  7

Rating:  F4

County:  Williamson

There has been two F4/EF4 tornadoes on Christmas Eve since records began in 1950.  We look at one of those in this summary.  This tornado began at 604am in the northwest part of Franklin, TN.  It formed just west of Franklin High School in the Rebel Meadows area along Hillsboro Road, then tracked northeast striking homes (where a fatality occurred) and the LDS Church along Ernest Rice Lane. The tornado then damaged a private airpark on the west side of Franklin Road. The worst damage was along General George Patton Drive from the Brentwood Pointe condos northward to Moores Lane, where several businesses were heavily damaged and destroyed.  

The tornado had an intermittent 6 mile path and traveled to the northeast at approximately 45 mph.  It dissipated in the eastern part of Brentwood.  Approximately 54 homes, 13 apartment units, 31 businesses and 6 parked airplanes were damaged/destroyed.

67-year-old Ernest Rice was killed when the tornado hit his home and the roof of the house landed on him as he slept.  His wife who was next to him had minor injuries.

Storm Data Entry

A tornado touched down shortly after 6am in the Rebel Meadows area of Northwest Franklin. The tornado moved northeast at around 45 mph, leaving a spotty path of damage. The damage was severe in the places that it touched down. It lifted up for good in the Brenthaven area of the eastern part of Brentwood. Property damage was estimated at around $8 million. Approximately 54 homes, 13 apartment units, 31 businesses and six parked airplanes were damaged or destroyed. There were seven reported injuries. One man was killed when the roof of his house fell on him.

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 35.92 / -86.90      End: 36.03 / -86.78

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Image From Storm Data

This event made the front of the December 1988 Storm Data Publication. The caption reads, "An overturned station wagon and nearby, mangled commercial building bear testimony to the destructive force of a tornado that produced up to F4 intensity damage in the Franklin-Brentwood area south of Nashville, Tennessee on the morning of December 24, 1988."


Newspaper Clippings


The Storm Prediction Center

NCDC Storm Events Database

December 1988 Storm Data Publication

NWS Nashville Summary


Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1285.

Did you enjoy reading about this event?  Help us create MORE summaries like this one by becoming a Supporter on Patreon!

 Become a Patron! 


Questions or comments about this summary?  Contact us here: http://tornadotalk.com/contact-us/

Join the tornado history discussion on our Discord Channel:  https://discordapp.com/invite/Xm43dQj