Skip to main content

For many Americans, the thought of an overnight tornado is just a nightmare. But for Tennessee residents, it is a regular and terrifying reality. Nearly half of tornadoes that occur in Tennessee strike when the sun is down.

Researchers are particularly concerned about how the public understands and manages the threat of nighttime tornadoes because these events are more than twice as likely to be fatal than those that occur during the day.

Kelsey Ellis Kelsey Ellis, a professor of geography at UT, and Alisa Hass, an assistant professor of geoscience at Middle Tennessee State University, discussed in The Conversation their research regarding hazards posed by local climatic conditions and the public’s perception of and preparation for those hazards.

Their research suggests that many Tennessee residents may not receive advance warning for a tornado at night. Weather professionals are concerned about reaching a sleeping public and note the importance of stressing projected overnight risks before residents go to sleep. Forecasters hope that wireless emergency alerts can help them reach more people during nighttime events. Read the full article on The Conversation.

UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through the partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.



Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,