Severe storms swept across the Southeast last night bringing with them heavy rain, damaging winds, and according to radar and local storm spotters a few tornadoes across the tri-state area.
Concern over the weather caused most area schools — including Marion County, Richard Hardy, Grundy, Sequatchie, and Hamilton Counties to delay classes by 2-hours for Tuesday. Jackson County, AL schools also followed a 2-hour delayed start time as a safety precaution regarding the timing of the storms and also to allow time for debris to be cleared for buses and car-rider students. Grundy County chose later to close schools due to the depth of damage in the county and power outages.
Locally, in Marion County escaped the worst of the storms suffering only minor or wind damage in various parts of the county, however surrounding counties definitely took a beating from the storms. Wind damage and downed trees were reported near Powells Crossroads in the north end of Marion County along with some other minor debris causing problems across the area.
At approximately 1:30 AM CST, NOAA weather radar indicated a tornado with a debris field on the ground just northwest of Monteagle near the Franklin-Grundy County line. That storm cell and rotation long-tracked across much of rural Grundy County crossing over into Sequatchie County near Cagle Mountain before eventually winding-down north of Dunlap. The National Weather Service (NWS) promptly issued Tornado Warnings for the affected areas as the rotation moved through the area.
Another radar-indicated tornadic spin-up occurred just a short time after 2:00 AM CST in southern Jackson County in Alabama. This rotation was indicated to be around the downtown Scottsboro area moving in a northeasterly path toward Pisgah and the central part of the county — staying just south of Stevenson and Bridgeport heading toward Sand Mountain before eventually fading-out as it crossed into Dade County in northwest Georgia.
Marion County found itself in the clear from the severe threat while the lower, bow-end of the line of storms continued to march across Alabama with another radar-indicated spin-up over northern Dekalb County at the border with Georgia. This storm also quickly lost its steam and only high winds and heavy rain remained as it moved into southern Walker County and northern Chattooga County in Georgia.
We had reports of wind damage in Jackson County from those storms last night, including a barn damaged or destroyed along US-72 near Scottsboro, as the storms eventually cleared Alabama and moved into Georgia while the northern bow of the line continued to affect areas of Hamilton County and Bradley County in Tennessee causing yet another Tornado Warning to be issued for Bradley County with rotation indicated near the Hopewell community in the Cleveland area.
As of 4:00 AM CST, the Sequatchie Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) was reporting some 7,800 customers without power across their service area, with a majority of those outages being in Grundy County where the earlier radar-indicated tornado was the likely cause. As of 10:00 AM CST, SVEC still shows significant outages in Grundy County including the communities of Gruetli-Laager, Altamont, and Beersheba Springs.
Another area with significant outages as of this writing is just north of Dunlap on the east side of the valley stretching north alongside the Mount Airy community into southern Pikeville and along the mountains on the east side of the valley. Overall they’re reporting just over 5,300 outages still affecting customers as of this writing — most of those in the areas that were tornado-warned overnight.
While we seemed to escape the worst here, Middle Tennessee seemed not as lucky.
Officials in Rutherford County say one person died and at least two others were injured as the storms moved through their county causing downed-trees and leaving much of the area without power there.
Rutherford County EMS spokesman Patrick Miller told news outlets this morning that crews responded to a report of a collapsed home in the Christiana community of the county. He said one death was confirmed and two others were injured when a nearby mobile home rolled over from the high winds with the storms. He said there were multiple trees and power lines down across the county.
Also in Rutherford County, Fire and Rescue crews responded to a house fire that appears to have started from a lightning strike during the storms. Officials say the house suffered heavy damage, but there were no injuries to report.
According to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the greatest impacts were reported in Franklin, Grundy, Lawrence, Rutherford and Knox counties. The National Weather Service in Nashville is sending one tornado survey crew to Christiana in Rutherford County. The second crew will go to Lawrence and Wayne counties to survey there.
By looking at the path of the storms, it’s clear the most widespread damage in our immediate area occurred in Grundy County. Dispatchers with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department said tree limbs, debris, and power lines were down across multiple areas of the county. Hwy. 56 and Hwy. 108 were shut-down from Colony Road to just inside the city limits of Altamont due to the damage in that area. Again, Grundy County Schools decided to close-down for Tuesday rather than follow the original 2-hour delay as a result of the power outages and widespread damage.
In Marion County, only the minor wind damage and downed tree limbs and small trees were reported (pretty typical of any storm), and an accident on I-24 Eastbound around mile markers 162-163 was reported when a truck went into the median bringing down wires in that area overnight.
Sequatchie County saw numerous trees down in the Cagle area. Hwy. 111 was closed on Cagle Mountain due to the number of downed trees and power lines. State Route 399 also saw many trees and wires reported down.
In Jackson County, AL, damage to a home was reported on County Rd. 11, across from the Jet-Pep in Aspel along with numerous outbuildings and barns damaged near the intersection of County Rd. 101 and US-72 near Scottsboro.
Parts of Hamilton County along with North Georgia counties reported lots of water on roadways and downed limbs, trees, and wires.
As always, stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for the latest severe weather coverage!