Natural & Man-made Disasters

Tornadoes & Definitions

Be Prepared: Sign up for Alert Rutherford to receive site specific all hazard and severe weather warning information. Have a NOAA all hazards & weather alert radio in your home or place of business as a backup. Make a plan and practice with your family or business associates. Pay attention and stay alert when watches are placed into effect. Have a plan, and be prepared to use it when the time comes.


Rutherford County is fortunate in the fact that major flooding is not too common. However, you should be aware that except for heat related fatalities, more deaths occur from flooding than any other natural hazard. Why? Most people fail to realize the power of water. For example, 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet. 12” can move your car. 24” of water can wash most vehicles away.

Earthquakes & Definitions

An earthquake is a trembling or shaking movement of the Earth's surface. Earthquakes typically result from the movement of faults, quasi-planar zones of deformation within its uppermost layers. The word earthquake is also widely used to indicate the source region itself. The solid earth is in slow but constant motion (see plate tectonics) and earthquakes occur where the resulting stress exceeds the capacity of Earth materials to support it. This condition is most often found at (and the resulting frequent occurrence of earthquakes is used to define) the boundaries of the tectonic plates into which the Earth's lithosphere can be divided. Events that occur at plate boundaries are called interplate earthquakes; the less frequent events that occur in the interior of the lithospheric plates are called intraplate earthquakes.

Winter Weather & Definitions

Winter weather is a concern to residents of Rutherford County. On average, Tennessee can experience a major winter weather event every five years, however it does not take a major storm to have concern of loosing life or property. Tennessee weather patterns historically show that ice storms caused by freezing rain is the major culprit to disrupt our lives in winter. The results can be devastating. Travel is dangerous, trees fall, power lines fail, communications capabilities are disrupted, and customers are left without power for days or even weeks at a time. It is important to stay aware of any impending storm activity and be prepared to survive its impact.

Drought & Definitions

A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region. Although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage and harm the local economy.