2017 Mid-Atlantic tornado outbreak
Date of tornado outbreak: February 25, 2017
Duration1: 11 hours
Maximum rated tornado2: EF4 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 53
Total Damages: --
Total Fatalities: 22
Areas Affected: Mid-Atlantic states, Southeastern United States

1Time from first tornado to last tornado
2Most severe tornado damage; see wikipedia:Enhanced Fujita Scale

The 2017 Mid-Atlantic tornado outbreak was a tornado outbreak that took place in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The outbreak killed 22 people, and injured hundreds more over a large area that infrequently sees large-scale events.

Meteorological Synopsis

On February 24, 2017, a strong storm system was due to move through the area the next afternoon and evening of February 25. The next day started ominously as storms formed across central and western Mississippi in the early morning hours and moved northeast. Hail and damaging winds were reported in northern Mississippi about an hour after sunrise. These early storms moved northeast into Tennessee and weakened in the late morning hours, but a dry line remained across central Tennessee into central Virginia.

Storms redeveloped in the afternoon along the dry line and an outbreak of tornadoes across much of the mid and southern Atlantic states ensued. Before the event had concluded, over 50 tornadoes had touched down in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, including five violent tornadoes that occurred in southern North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The deadliest tornado occurred in Tuxedo, North Carolina area when an EF3 tornado moved through the center of the town of Tuxedo, killing seven people.

Three tornadoes received EF4 ratings in this outbreak, with one of these violent twisters each occurring in North Carolina, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. One of these struck rural areas particularly around the towns of Toluca and Jacobs Fork in North Carolina. This tornado killed four people and injured another 20.

Confirmed tornadoes

  • All ratings are preliminary. Surveys are being be conducted, which may reveal the presence of additional tornadoes and higher damage than initially assigned.
22 10 4 5 2 1 0
List of confirmed tornadoes - Saturday, February 25, 2017
F# Location County Time (ET) Path length Max width Summary
EF0 SW of Townshend Blount 11:52-11:54 AM 1 mi 50 yd (46 m) Minor damage was confined to trees.
EF3 S of Townshend to S of Pittman Center Blount, Sevier 11:59-12:32 PM 22 mi 500 yd (547 m) Tornado formed about 1½ miles northeast of the Cades Cove Campground in Monroe County and tracked northeast for 22 miles, varying in width from 100 to 500 yards, before dissipating 2 miles south of Pittman Center. About 13 miles into the path of the tornado, EF2 damage occurred to multiple public buildings. 5 homes in a small subdivision of less than 20 homes received EF3 damage just 2 miles north of the damaged buildings. The remainder of damage was confined to telephone poles, trees, and other recreational/public buildings primarily along Fighting Creek Gap Rd and for a brief section early in the path, Upper Tremont Rd. Trees along the path were also partially debarked.
EF0 SE of Pittman Center Sevier 12:33-12:39 PM 3 mi 150 yd (137 m) Touched down 2 miles southeast of Pittman Center, producing only minor damage as it tracked northeast for 3 miles to near the Sevier/Cocke county border.
EF2 Cosby to Bluffton Sevier, Cocke 12:44-12:53 PM 6 mi 440 yd (402 m) Intermittent damage occurred along most of the path, with major structural damage to a new house along Caney Creek Rd., where the majority of the roof was ripped off, and one exterior wall was partially knocked down. Additional damage occurred to trees, power poles, and other homes along the track.
EF0 SE of Hartford Cocke 12:56-12:57 PM 0.5 mi 50 yd (46 m) Tornado was very short-lived and formed on Joe Green Island before moving through Hartford. The tornado was less than 50 yards wide and damaged several buildings and trees as it moved northeast across Interstate 40.
North Carolina
EF0 NE of Lake Jocassee Transylvannia 12:22-12:23 PM 1 mi 40 yd (37 m) Tornado remained in forested areas.
EF0 W of Cedar Mountain Transylvannia 12:27-12:32 PM 3 mi 50 yd (46 m) Tornado remained in forested areas.
EF2 Cedar Mountain Transylvannia 12:37-12:40 PM 2 mi 40 yd (37 m) The local Post Office and eleven homes were destroyed.
EF0 W of Tuxedo Henderson 12:47-12:51 PM 3 mi 50 yd (46 m) Tornado remained over open country.
EF3 Tuxedo Henderson 12:56-1:05 PM 6 mi 200 yd (180 m) 7 deaths - A church and house were both severely damaged near the beginning of the path before the tornado entered town, severely damaging or destroying hundreds of homes. Among other structures in the path, the Graystone Stables, Green River volunteer fire department and Tuxedo first baptist church were all destroyed before the tornado exited town and dissipated.
EF2 NE of Saluda to W of Mill Spring Polk 1:12-1:22 PM 7 mi 200 yd (0.18 km) Tornado inflicted minor damage to several isolated buildings early in its path. 30 homes were struck in a rural neighborhood west of Mill Spring, in which most lost much of their roofs and exterior walls. Trees and power poles were downed throughout the path as well.
EF1 Rutherfordton area Rutherford 1:29-1:36 PM 5 mi 75 yd (69 m) Tornado produced sporadic damage.
EF1 ENE of Rutherfordton Rutherford 1:42-1:51 PM 6 mi 100 yd (91 m) Over 50 homes in the area were damaged, twelve of which sustained major impacts and lost parts of their roofs.
EF0 NE of Holls Rutherford 1:58-2:01 PM 2 mi 50 yd (46 m) Three houses and multiple outbuildings sustained very little damage.
EF4 N of Delight to SE of Newton Cleveland, Lincoln, Catawba 2:08-2:46 PM 28 mi 1.2 mi (1.9 km) 4 deathsSee section on this tornado
EF2 Catawba area; Catawba River, to W of Barium Springs Catawba, Iredell 2:55-3:06 PM 8 mi 75 yd (69 m) Many homes were damaged, some severely. Many trees were downed as well.
EF1 ENE of Barium Springs Iredell 3:11-3:17 PM 4 mi 55 yd (50 m) Many homes suffered minor damage and many trees were downed. A manufacturing plant sustained EF0 damage as the tornado was lifting.
EF2 Lake Mackintosh to Burlington Randolph, Alamance 5:42-5:54 PM 8 mi 220 yd (201 m) 2 deaths - Tornado touched down on Lake Mackintosh, and caused EF0 damage to a subdivision of newly built homes on the shore. The tornado moved northeast, damaging many homes and several large structures between EF0-EF1 intensity. The tornado then hit the Alamance Regional Medical Center, producing high-end EF1 damage to the complex. Shortly thereafter, the tornado produced EF2 damage to 12 homes and lesser damage to hundreds of others as it entered the southwest part of Burlington. The tornado passed just southeast of the center of town where a car was thrown over the roof of a gas station. Hundreds of other homes located in the Northwood subdivision of the city were also affected as the tornado neared the end of its life. Damage was mainly EF1 as it moved northeast, except for EF2 damage to several homes along Graham Street, where one woman was injured and a church suffered extensive damage. The tornado continued to weaken and dissipated near the intersection of Beaumont Ave. and Cedar Ave.
EF1 Green Level Alamance 6:00-6:06 PM 4 mi 50 yd (46 m) Tornado touched down in the western half of Green Level and then tracked north for 4 miles before dissipating near State Road 119. A ground survey concluded minimal EF1 damage occurred to several homes along Mebane Rogers Rd.
EF1 McDale Orange 6:13-6:17 PM 2 mi 150 yd (137 m) Damage, mainly EF1, consisted of minor roof damage to several homes in the path, a destroyed house garage in town, a destroyed barn on the property of a house across the street from Lee's Chapel Baptist Church, and sporadic areas of downed trees and power lines.
EF0 ENE of McDale Orange, Person 6:23 to 6:44 PM 7 mi 50 yd (46 m) Damage in the storm's path was limited to minor roof damage, several downed fences and tree damage.
EF0 S of Timberlake Person 6:48 PM 0.1 mi 25 yd (23 m) This tornado was short-lived and developed just south of Timberlake. No significant damage was observed.
EF0 S of Mount Tarizah Person 6:52 to 6:53 PM 0.5 mi 25 yd (23 m) No significant damage was reported.

Notable tornadoes

Delight–Toluca–Vale–Duan, North Carolina

At 2:08 p.m. EDT (1908 UTC), a tornado touched down along W North Carolina State Road 10 in western Cleveland County (north of Delight). Initially, the tornado was weak, damaging roofs and trees. The tornado intensified as it moved through areas in and around southern Toluca, destroying a mobile homes and tearing the roofs off of several frame homes. Further northeast, the tornado intensified further to EF3 strength as it tore through several nearby subdivisions, heavily damaging or destroying numerous homes and mobile homes, as well as several large storage units and barns, killing one person in the area. The tornado widened and weakened back to EF2 strength as it crossed Zur Leonard Rd, completely destroying several mobile homes and outbuildings in that area. Numerous trees were downed in the vicinity as well. The tornado maintained EF2 strength as it passed through the Vale area, destroying numerous mobile homes and tearing roofs off of frame homes. The tornado regained EF3 intensity as it moved through Jacobs Fork, and a few homes along the Hickory Lincolnton Highway sustained a direct hit from the tornado in this area, with 7 homes completely destroyed. There, one person was killed and six others were injured, two critically. A church south of the destroyed homes was left with one collapsed external wall.

Just to the northeast, the large stovepipe tornado intensified further into a violent EF4. Many trees along the path were denuded and debarked or lofted considerable distances, one of which was found with a car wrapped around it. Several relatively new homes in this area were swept completely away, one with only the slab foundation remaining and much of the debris blown to the northeast. Pavement was partially scoured from roads in this area. The tornado maintained EF4 strength as it plowed through a nearby field containing hundreds of solar panels, destroying many of them and leaving behind a pronounced swath of ground scouring. The tornado then weakened back to EF2 strength as it crossed Rone Jones Road, entering an area filled with businesses. Several vehicles were impacted, resulting in a fatality and several injuries. The McCreary Modern building suffered mixed EF1-EF2 damage, and a nearby home had its roof torn off. The tornado then moved into a large housing addition just northeast of this area. A final brief instance of EF3 damage was noted as a home was left with only interior walls standing; while a neighboring home, several other nearby outbuildings and a barn were damaged to a lesser degree. Further to the northeast, the tornado tore the roof off many houses at EF2 strength, inflicting a final fatality. The tornado later dissipated at 2:46 p.m. EDT (1946 UTC) about 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of Newton, after causing some additional minor tree damage and striking multiple large barns along Columbine Dr. During its 38-minute track, the tornado attained EF4 intensity and remained on the ground for approximately 28 miles (45.1 km).

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