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Minor Damage, Flooding After Wednesday’s Storms

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Minor Damage, Flooding After Wednesday’s Storms

Widespread flooding is affecting Upper Cumberland communities after Wednesday’s storms passed through.

EMA Directors reported minimal damage to structures but advised caution for drivers. Jackson County EMA Director Derek Woolbright said any roads in the county near water are flooded and many are impassable. He said people should treat this like winter weather: if you do not have to be out, do not go out.

“If you come up on some water in the roadway, do not attempt to cross it,” Woolbright said. “Even if you think, ‘Well, that doesn’t look very deep,’ do not attempt to cross that water. It’s not worth it. The risk is not worth it, and more than likely, that water is going to be deeper than you think it is.”

He said Cummins Mill Road, School Drive, Dodson Branch Highway, and Aarons Branch Road are some of those most heavily affected by standing water as of Thursday morning.

Warren County EMA Director Jim Cunningham said there was widespread damage to trees and power lines. He said 1,500 homes were recorded as having power outages as of 10:00am Thursday. He said there are still many county roads that are closed, especially off Highway 55 near Morrison and Viola.

“It overwhelmed everybody,” Cunningham said. “It just came in and it never did stop. It was just rolling on, rolling on, you know? They extended our tornado watch from like 3:00 in the morning up until 10:00am this morning, so our power line crews, our county highway department, our law enforcement people were out all night long.”

He said the county Sheriff’s Department sheltered three families in a spare room at the local jail last night.

Putnam County EMA Director Brandon Smith said he quickly grew concerned as storms intensified over Baxter around 8:30pm, but he feels fortunate that no significant damage has been reported.

“We really dodged a bullet with the evening storms that came through,” Smith said. “We were very concerned as they came through. Had a pronounced shelf cloud and saw some areas of lowering and rotation, but fortunately, it doesn’t look like any of those made it to the ground to do significant damage.”

He said minor road flooding caused a few temporary closures early Thursday morning, but roads or back open and the Putnam County community seems to have made it through without major incident.

White County EMA Director Matt McBride said the county is largely unscathed, with no structural damage and only a handful of downed trees. He said as storms moved through Smithville and Baxter around 8:30pm, he began to grow concerned. He said he was notified that the storms had the potential to combine and gain strength, but they never did.

He said drivers in rural parts of the county should beware of standing water on roads. He said the White County Highway Department is hard at work clearing brush. He said a couple of roads are closed, but they are small, rural streets with alternate routes.

Dekalb County EMA Director Charlie Parker said as far as he knows, everything in the county is passable. He said trees are down, but no significant damage seems evident.

“I think the worst part of it’s over with, but I think everybody in Tennessee is about up to their limit,” Parker said. “We’re fortunate here. I know places north and west of us, even in Putnam County that have got a lot of roads.”

He said while flooding has not become a major issue in Dekalb County, he is not sure how much more the county can take.

Cumberland County EMA Director Travis Cole said there has been no structural damage from the storms. He said about 1,300 people lost power in the night, but most of the power has been restored. He said the only road closure in the county is on Eldridge Loop, although low-lying roads have been affected throughout the area.

“Just give some grace if you happen to run across a line crew or a road crew,” Cole said. “Slow down, and definitely, if you encounter water across a roadway, don’t try to cross it in your vehicle. That can lead to, you know, another potentially dangerous situation.”

Fentress County EMA Director James Bilbrey said a main gas line in Jamestown caught fire after lightning hit a tree near the line on Flatt Spur Road off Highway 52. He said the gas department was able to cut off the line without further issue.

He said a portion of the state highway near Clarkrange was washed out and restricted to a one-way road for several hours. He said there was only minor flooding with few downed trees and power outages in the county.

Van Buren EMA Public Information Officer Tiwanna Bricker said several roads were closed in the night but may already be re-opened. She said one vehicle stalled at 5:00am on Mooneyham Lonewood Road due to flooding, but fire departments were able to rescue the driver.

She said Mooneyham Lonewood Road, State Route 30, Howard Road, and Old Highway 111 were all affected.

Overton-Pickett County EMA Director Chris Masiongale said he is grateful to have avoided major damage and flooding. He said as rain comes off of the mountains onto banks that are already saturated, water can begin to pool in the roads. He said as of now, all roads are open.

Clay County EMA Director Kyle Haney said damage in the county was minimal, with a few downed tree limbs and localized flooding. He said no roads were closed.


The post Minor Damage, Flooding After Wednesday’s Storms appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.