Tornado: February 5, 2008

Tornado Information
As everyone knows, Macon County and the city of Lafayette were hit by a devastating tornado February 5, 2008.  The tornado has left 18 people dead and 250 homes and businesses destroyed.  


Aerial photo of the golf course in Lafayette taken February 7, 2008.  The photo was sent to us by the Macon County Chamber of Commerce.  We do not know the photographer's name.  Hi-res photo (650K).



Long Term Recovery of Macon County
The purpose of the Long Term Recovery of Macon County committee is to coordinate the delivery of long term recovery assistance to the victims of a major disaster. This involves multiple agencies, including governmental entities, not-for-profit agencies, community, civic and service groups, religious, and educational organizations, etc.

LTRMC now has an office located at 668 Highway 52 Bypass West (the old State Farm office). The mailing address is P. O. Box 715, Lafayette, TN 37083. To contact the organization or one of its officers, call 615-666-9714.  For more information, please visit:

National Weather Service Photos
The National Weather Service, Nashville Office, has an incredible collection of 95 photographs.  This is from their survey of Macon County tornado damage.  Please click on this link.

Watch Out for Scam Artists

Mayor Shelvy Linville had advised people to watch out for scam artists. There are people that are trying to take advantage of this situation.  Here are some tips:

Never do business with a repair crew that knocks on your door (unless you can verify their contractors license).
Ask for identification (such as drivers license). Do not accept business cards or name badges as identification.  Copy down all the information from the driver's license.
Ask for proof of contractors license.
Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance, workers' compensation and is bonded.
You can verify contractors' licenses here:
Call the State of Tennessee's Contractors Board at 1-800-544-7693 (option 4) to see if the contractor has any complains filed against him or her.
Call the Better Business Bureau to see if complains have been filed.
  Get a written estimate.  Read the fine print.
  Get references and check them.
Pay by check.  A reasonable down payment is 30% of the total cost of the project.
Never pay for the entire project in advance.



The people in Lafayette and Macon County, Tennessee, would like to sincerely thank everyone for their support and encouragement during these difficult times.  We are blessed to live in a state, a country, and a world where people truly care about one another.  Hundreds of people have opened their hearts and donated money, food, clothing, and other necessities to the people here who need them most.  We are also blessed to have people donating their time and their services towards the clean-up effort.  We also thank our churches, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Christian Appalachian Project,  the Humane Society of the United states, and other organizations who are all heavily involved in tornado-relief efforts.   Macon County will rebuild, and we will become a better, stronger community.  Again, thank you all so very much for your help and support!



President Bush Visits Macon County
Macon County is honored to have welcomed President George W. Bush who toured tornado-ravaged sections of Lafayette and Macon County on Friday, February 8, 2008.  We appreciate the support! Photo above: President George W. Bush spends a moment with Shelvy Linville, Mayor of Macon County, Tennessee, after attending a briefing Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, on the regional tornado damage left in the wake of Tuesday's deadly storms. White House photo by Chris Greenberg.  Click here for more photos of Mr. Bush's trip on the President's web site.  (Note: if the previous link fails to work after President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009, we have copied most of the information from the White House web site to this page on the Lafayette web site.)




Want to Help?
Scores of people in Lafayette and Macon County have lost everything, and help from the outside world would be greatly appreciated.  The best way you can help is to mail a check or money order payable to the Macon County Tornado Relief Fund to any of these addresses:

Macon County Tornado Relief Fund
c/o Citizens Bank
400 Highway 52 Bypass West
Lafayette, TN 37083
Macon County Tornado Relief Fund
c/o GreenBank
P. O. Box 408
Lafayette, TN 37083
Macon County Tornado Relief Fund
c/o Macon Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 10
Lafayette, TN 37083


Another option is to make a contribution to the Macon County Education Foundation.  MCEF has set up a separate account for storm-related donations.  MCEF does a huge amount of work in helping Macon County children and Macon County schools.  MCEF is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization.  Many children in Macon County are tornado victims, and a contribution to MCEF will definitely be of help to them.   For more information on MCEF and how to contribute, please click here.

Thank you for your kindness!!




About the Tornado

The National Weather Service has rated the tornado that went through Macon County as EF-2 with some places receiving EF-3 damage.  Wikipedia has a good article of the Enhanced Fujita scale.   See the press release from the National Weather Service in the yellow box below.

Governor Bredesen flew over Macon County in a helicopter on February 6, 2008.  The Governor describes the tornado path as being 20 to 25 miles long and looking like "the Lord took a Brillo pad and scrubbed the ground." This path runs from Castalian Springs [Sumner County], through Macon County, to the Kentucky border.

This link will take you to an interactive Google map that will show you the approximate path of the tornado through Macon County.  This is not an official map!!!!  The map is based on news reports.  On the Google map, you may zoom in and out.  You may also hold down the left mouse button and drag to move the map around. 


National Weather Service
Results of Tornado Surveys
February 8, 2008

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Nashville TN
445 pm CST Fri Feb 8 2008

...results of tornado surveys...
...updated to include intensity rating for Sumner Trousdale and
Macon counties...

After surveying damage from the February 5th storms that struck Middle Tennessee, it has been determined that four individual tornadoes occurred along a path extending from Clifton in Wayne County to northeast of Lafayette in Macon County.

The first tornado touched down over northeast Hardin county, moved near Clifton, and lifted near Flatwoods in northern Wayne County.  A second tornado touched down in extreme southeast Perry County, a few miles northeast of the end of the previous tornado track. This tornado remained on the ground as the storm moved across northwest Lewis County and into Hickman County. The tornado struck the Brushy community, then turned toward the left just east of Centerville before dissipating.

The first two tornadoes have been rated as either EF-o or EF-1.

A third tornado touched down near the end of the previous tornado track east of Centerville, and passed through Fairview, in northwest Williamson County, before lifting near the Davidson County line. This tornado has been rated as either EF-1 or EF-2.

The supercell thunderstorm continued to move northeastward, across Nashville, before spawning a fourth tornado, which dropped down on the south side of Gallatin, near the Cumberland River. This tornado moved through Castalian Springs, extreme northern Trousdale County, across Macon County, striking the northwest side of Lafayette, before moving into Kentucky, where it finally lifted northeast of Tompkinsville. The path length of this tornado was approximately 51 miles. Much of the damage along this path was rated EF-2 although some areas received EF-3 damage. This long track tornado had winds in the 110 to 140 mph range and caused damage three quarters of a mile wide.



Disaster Relief Now Available

If you sustained damages or losses in one of the counties declared a disaster area (Macon and Sumner are included), you may be eligible for State and Federal disaster funds.  Please click here for details.  (Opens in Microsoft Word.)

USDA Rural Development
From Joe Woody, Area Director, Cookeville, USDA Rural Development:
You can go online and look at our info

Under housing look at the following:

Rural Housing Direct Loan (home loan for 33 years with payment based on
your income)

Housing Repair & Rehabilitation Loan (for very-low individuals @ 1% to
do repairs that remove health and safety issues. Ex: windows, roofing,
insulation, handicap accessibility issues.)

Housing Repair & Rehabilitation Grant (for very-low individuals over 62
years of age. Can get up to a $7,500 grant to do repairs.)




The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Galen Road was completely destroyed.

Grace Baptist Church on Brattontown Circle was destroyed.

New Zion Missionary Baptist Church. located on the Williams Road just off Akersville Road, was also a total loss due to the tornado.

Lafayette United Methodist Church Pastor Michael Welch, his wife, Julie, and their two young children, Jesse, and Hannah, were killed in a tragic six-vehicle accident on February 7, 2008.  Traffic was backed up on TN 52 due to the tornado damage in Lafayette, when the Welch's van was struck from behind by a fully-loaded tractor trailer.


E-mail from Karen Brown and Tracy Childress
Dear Macon County citizens,
We wanted to let you know that on behalf of the entire Economic and Community Development family with the State of Tennessee, we are thinking of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family, friends, and the entire community today and over the coming months.
Karen Brown and Tracy Childress,
Regional Economic Development Specialists,
State of Tennessee,
Economic and Community Development Department


Shane Sliger writes, "These is my dad, John Spencer (a.k.a. Big John), in his La-Z-Boy recliner he road out the storm in."


National Weather Service Radar Loop
This is an interesting video of the NWS Nashville radar during the tornado of February 5, 2008.  Watch the large red area as it moves through Nashville.  Keep following the same area northeast.  Just before the storm moves into Kentucky, you'll see it in Macon County where Lafayette is.


Audio Podcasts

Darrell Kirk of Seattle, Washington has three telephone interviews with people in Lafayette: John Spencer, Rosetta Banda, and Dusty McGiver.  Each of these people has a fascinating story to tell about his or her experience with the Lafayette tornado of February 5, 2008.  Please click on this link below to hear the podcasts.  [Note: Darrell has included some sound clips (tornado sirens, police radios, voices, etc.) at the front of each podcast that aren't related to the Lafayette tornado.)



The National Weather Service, Nashville Office, has an incredible collection of 95 photographs.  This is from their survey of Macon County tornado damage. Please click on the link below:


We invite everyone to send us photos they have taken of tornado damage in Macon County.  We will be glad to credit you for the photos.  However, once we put your photos on the web site, for all practical purposes, the photos will be in the public domain for anyone to download and use as they see fit.  In other words, please don't send copyrighted photos.

Photos - page 5.
Photos - page 4.
Photos - page 3.
Photos - page 2.
Photos - page 1.

Please click here to send an e-mail.  Please attach your photos to the e-mail.



In Memoriam
Carol Boyd
Mark Brown, Jr.
Javier Bueno Castillo
Johnny Doolin
Dixie Ellis
Stan Francis
William Manier
Pablo Osorio
Rex Payne
Cortney Payne
Joan Rodriquez
Jim Shaw
William Clark
Randy Wilkerson
Mike Welch
Hannah Welch
Julie Welch
Jessie Welch