County sees little damage from storms

Published 8:37 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

Star Photo/Bryce Phillips Heavy rains deluge Joe O'Brien Field Tuesday evening.

Star Photo/Bryce Phillips
Heavy rains deluge Joe O’Brien Field Tuesday evening.

While a series storm fronts have swept through the area over the past few days, Carter County was fortunate to avoid the worst of the predicted storms according to Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Smith.

“The only thing that we’ve had were some downed power lines and some fallen trees,” Smith said. There were some power outages across the county during the storms and also some reports of localized flooding Monday.

However, the damage from the storm could have been much, much worse, Smith said.

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“(Tuesday) morning, we had a squall line approaching our area that would have brought very strong thunderstorms our way,” Smith said. “The forecast called for 60-plus mile per hour gusts, frequent lightning and hail.”

Smith contacted the National Weather Service in Morristown and kept and eye on the weather, watching as radar tracked the storm closer and closer to Elizabethton.

“However, as the storm got closer to our area, it began to dissipate and lose energy,” he said. “By the time it arrived here, we had some lightning and short bursts of heavy rain. Then, the sun came out and things were fine for a while.”

But, the morning storm was not the end of the severe weather threat, an afternoon storm was brewing and headed toward Carter County according to the weather predictions.

“They were again forecasting very strong thunderstorms that were supposed to sweep across most of the state,” Smith said, adding the storms were expected to hit between 2-4 p.m. “The forecast for those storms included the possibility of 70-plus mile per hour gusts, a lot of frequent lightning, hail, and a remote possibility of tornadoes.”

By 2 p.m. the skies above Elizabethton had darkened and it was beginning to rain, Smith said. However, he added, by 3 p.m. the sky began clearing. A check of the radar showed the main line of storms had passed to the west and was moving south, Smith said.

“So, the bottom line is this – we were spared twice yesterday,” Smith said, adding large areas of the state were not so fortunate. “At around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, there was a line of strong thunderstorms extending from one end of our State to the other. All of that activity was south of us, and there were areas that received major damage.”

“We were extremely fortunate yesterday Two major storm systems headed our way, and neither of them ‘hit’ us,” he added. ‘Give thanks where thanks are due.”