Updated Monday at 6:20 a.m.
After a day of uneasy anticipation, severe weather did not make its way far enough north to reach Tennessee on Wednesday.
But by 10 p.m. in the Nashville area, the National Weather Service had given the “all clear” for severe storms. Spotters had called in a single lightning strike that knocked a tree onto a shed in Centerville.
Otherwise, heavy rain was the concern, with up to 2.5 inches possible. Areas near the Tennessee-Alabama border were given a flood advisory.
Isolated storms and widespread showers are hitting Middle Tennessee right now, but the National Weather Service says late this evening is the time when severe weather could hit.
Meteorologists are expecting a potential break in weather late afternoon and early evening before the possibility of damaging wind, tornadoes and hail. The highest likelihood of severe weather will be in the southwest part of the region, where a warm front that’s currently south of Middle Tennessee will make its way later today.
“We are pretty confident about that. Where our confidence starts to decrease is how far north is that warm front going to get, and how much will that widespread severe weather expand north and northeast,” says meteorologist Krissy Hurley.
Columbia and Shelbyville are at an enhanced risk, while Nashville, Clarksville and Murfreesboro remain in the slight risk area on NWS mapping, although that may change if the warm front moves up faster than expected.
Enhanced area for severe weather Wednesday has moved little farther northeast into middle TN. There still is a small threat across the southwest in the morning, but the afternoon and evening are still the peak times. Stay weather alert well into tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/80Vi9pm8uQ
— NWS Nashville (@NWSNashville) March 16, 2021
Hurley says residents need to have “numerous ways to get warning notifications, including ways that will wake you up, because this looks like it will be a nighttime event.”
Overall, Middle Tennessee could get 1 to 2.5 inches of rain across the area. The Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Wayne County.
“From Chattanooga to Clarksville, west of that area is really where the best chance of severe storms are,” said NWS meteorologist Mark Richards. “A small chance of tornadoes, mainly southwest near the border of Alabama, Tennessee, and a chance for hail too, and really up this way, more damaging wind.”