The tornado was on the ground for about 4 1/2 miles, said Joe Gourley of the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency.
Fewer than a dozen homes suffered minor to moderate damage, trees were toppled and roads were blocked, Gourley said.
Just to the west, students at Fairview Middle School were evacuated after lightning struck the school and started a fire on the roof, CNN affiliate WTVF reported.
Heavy rains associated with the system provided welcome relief for firefighters, helping to douse a 260-acre wildfire, near the east Tennessee mountain resort town of Pigeon Forge. Only five acres were burning late Monday, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director James Bassham told CNN affiliate WATE.
The wildfire destroyed more than 60 cabins, WATE reported.