Severe weather is still very much a threat for many regions of the country. Severe thunderstorms are the most common form of severe weather, but tornados are undoubtedly the deadliest weather event we have to deal with. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the number of tornados is increasing in many states - one of the biggest increases is in Tennessee.

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If it seems like there have been more tornado warnings and tornados touching down each year in Tennessee, that's because there have been, and there is data to prove it. A study was released by tracking the increase in high-intensity tornados across the country over the last 20 years. During that time, Tennessee has had one of the biggest spikes.

To find the locations with the largest increase in tornadoes, researchers ranked locations by the total change in high-intensity tornado occurrences from the 20-year period ending in November 2004 to the 20-year period ending in November 2023. High-intensity tornadoes were considered to be those categorized as EF2 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

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According to the study, Tennessee has had the 8th largest increase in high-intensity tornados in America since 2003. What does that actually mean? Take a look at these alarming figures from the report:

  • Tennessee experienced 169 high-intensity tornadoes from 2004-2023, which is 30 more than the previous 20-year period (1984-2003).
  • Those 169 tornados resulted in 166 fatalities and over 1,600 injuries - those are some of the highest totals in the country.
  • Tennessee faced average annual damages of over $169 million (after adjusting for inflation) each year of the study period.

The graphic above shows what scientists have been telling us - that over the past 20 years, high-intensity tornados have spread farther into the Southeast and Midwest. You can see that Tennessee has gotten quite a bit darker which means that the increase in tornado activity is likely to continue.

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LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Tennessee

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Tennessee using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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