Storm brings downed trees, power outages to county

Published 8:29 am Friday, February 26, 2016

Strong winds that moved through the area on Wednesday and into the morning hours on Thursday as part of a storm front caused damage across the county.
“We’ve had quite a few downed trees and some downed power lines,” said Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Smith. Some trees and branches ended up in roadways while others landed in electrical lines leading to power outages, Smith added.
On Thursday morning, Smith said he received a report from Carter County 911 regarding emergency calls related to the weather.
“It seemed to be spread evenly across the county,” Smith said. “The winds were strong everywhere.”
Crews from the Carter County Highway Department worked Wednesday night and Thursday morning to make sure roads were clear of hazards. Carter County Road Superintendant Roger Colbaugh said his department had to cut one tree out of a roadway Wednesday night and three more trees on Thursday morning.
On Thursday morning, crews from the Highway Department were working all across the county on a variety of tasks, Colbaugh said.
“We’re doing regular maintenance like cleaning out ditches today as well as tree and brush removal,” Colbaugh said. “Plus in the higher elevations we’ve got crews out pushing snow and slush out of the roads.”
In addition to creating road hazards downed trees and fallen branches caused power outages in the county as well.
“We had quite a bit of scattered stuff yesterday and last night,” Elizabethton Electric Department Director Rob Toney said on Thursday.
While most of the outages were localized, Toney said the department had two “significant” outages.
“In the Milligan area we had a significant outage from about 9 p.m. until around 11 p.m.,” Toney said. “In the Keenburg area we had a pretty good size outage from about 9:30 p.m. until 11 p.m.”
In addition to those two outages, Toney said crews from his department also worked to repair broken breakers and transformers during the overnight hours.
“Other than that, it has been pretty sporadic,” Toney said.
The Carter County Sheriff’s Office also received reports of damage caused by strong winds and fallen trees.
Around 11:20 p.m., CCSO Deputy Mark McClain spoke to a resident of Peachtree Lane regarding damage to a vehicle.
“Strong storms producing heavy winds and rain/sleet had been moving through the area throughout the evening,” McClain said. “At some point, a large tree in a neighbor’s yard fell across the fence and into the vehicle causing significant damage to the vehicle. Damage to the vehicle included windows busted out, other cosmetic damage as well as several dents in the top and side of the vehicle.”
Deputies also responded to Hampton Elementary School on Wednesday morning after strong winds destroyed a walkway awning leading to a modular classroom unit behind the school.

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