Strong to severe storms, flooding possible today

Strong to Severe Storms

 

Strong to severe storms and flooding are possible across the region as a band of showers and storms slowly moves east across the area, forecasters said.

A flood advisory is in effect in Oak Ridge and Clinton, among other areas, through 11:15 a.m., and a flood watch is in effect from noon to 11 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Morristown has also issued a wind advisory that applies to Oak Ridge and Clinton, among other areas. It’s in effect through 8 p.m.

The NWS said heavy rainfall of one to two inches can be expected across much of the area, and rainfall of up to three inches is possible in a few locations. The rain and storms are expected today over the southern Appalachians and eastern Tennessee Valley as a strong storm moves east from the Mississippi Valley, slowly pushing a cold front across the area. [Read more...]

Severe weather possible Tuesday evening

Severe Weather Outlook

Image courtesy National Weather Service in Morristown.

 

A line of strong to severe thunderstorms will move across the Cumberland Plateau and into East Tennessee and southwest Virginia this evening, forecasters said Tuesday.

The biggest risk from the storms is damaging straight-line winds of up to 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

“Locally heavy rainfall and frequent lightning will also be possible with the strongest activity,” the NWS said.

The Weather Service issued a significant weather advisory at 7:09 p.m. for Anderson and Union counties and southern Campbell, central Morgan, and southeastern Scott counties until 8 p.m. [Read more...]

Haslam announces federal aid for 18 counties

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Counties receive disaster recovery funds for June flooding

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday announced President Obama has declared 18 counties as federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather on June 5-10. State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to and recovery from the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

“This federal aid will help our communities in rebuilding and recovery,” Haslam said. “State and local teams worked quickly to survey damage in more than 35 counties to determine the impact of these storms, and we are grateful for this assistance.”

The counties that will have access to federal aid include Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton. They will have access to federal assistance that provides reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs. A presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County. [Read more...]

Tornado watch, severe storms possible Sunday evening

National Weather Service Severe Weather Threat

Image courtesy of National Weather Service in Morristown.

Note: This story was updated at 6:55 p.m. with a new tornado warning.

A tornado watch is in effect for the northern half of East Tennessee—including Anderson, Knox, and Roane counties—through 8 p.m., and there is a chance of severe thunderstorms near Oak Ridge through midnight, the National Weather Service said.

Update: A tornado warning was issued at 6:26 p.m. for southern Campbell County, Scott County, and northwestern Anderson County. It’s in effect through 7:15 p.m., and it applies to Lake City and Rosedale in Anderson County, as well as LaFollette, Caryville, and Jacksboro in Campbell County, and Huntsville and Oneida in Scott County. (The tornado warning has since been extended to 7:45 p.m.)

Radar showed a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado. The dangerous storm was located over Helenwood, about eight miles south of Oneida, and moving southeast at 35 mph, the NWS said.

People in the affected areas should take cover now, moving to a basement or interior room on the lowest floor of sturdy building. Windows should be avoided. If in a mobile home or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. [Read more...]

WYSH: Storm damage follow-up; EF0 tornado confirmed in Kingston

Mike Marsh Home Storm Damage

One of several pictures showing the storm damage Tuesday to the home of Mike and Wanda Marsh on Timbercrest Drive in Oak Ridge. (Photo courtesy Mike Marsh)

 

Information from WYSH Radio

The National Weather Service has confirmed the powerful storms that rolled through the area on Tuesday included an embedded tornado in Kingston.

Officials with the NWS office in Morristown assessed the damage and said an EF-0 tornado touched down along 3rd Street in Kingston. The winds of an EF-0 tornado are around 65-85 miles per hour.

The NWS said the widespread damage throughout East Tennessee was almost entirely from straight-line winds and down-bursts. Kingston is the only site suspected of sustaining tornado damage.

The Weather Service says straight-line winds estimated at 80 mph packed a destructive punch in Clinton, which appeared to bear the brunt of the damage from Tuesday’s severe weather. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge: 4,000 lose power, 70 homes damaged

Wadsworth Circle Home Tree

One of two trees that fell on a home on West Wadsworth Circle. The second tree, visible on the ground in the background, punched a hole in the roof and displaced a mother, grandmother, and two children.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 2:40 p.m.

Roughly 4,000 customers lost power in the Tuesday evening storm, and about 70 damaged homes will require repairs by an electrician before power can be restored, an Oak Ridge official said Wednesday morning.

Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs said he doesn’t recall ever having 70 homes damaged in one storm, although the Electric Department has experienced worse storms when many utility poles were broken. But the brief, fierce Tuesday storm, which brought severe winds and driving rain, was significant in terms of its damage to homes and its far-reaching nature, from Blair Road on the west end of town to east Oak Ridge and beyond—into Clinton and Anderson County, Suggs said.

“It was pretty widespread,” Suggs said.

Janet Bowker on Plymouth Circle and Storm Debris

Janet Bowker, left, walks through debris on Plymouth Circle in front of her home, where a tree fell into her bedroom during the Tuesday evening storm. Her home is at right but not visible in this picture. There were no injuries, but Bowker does not have power now.

 

The storm, which ripped through Oak Ridge at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, left a trail of debris: scattered branches and limbs, broken trees, fallen power lines, and damaged buildings and homes. It also triggered a flood of calls to the city’s 911 call dispatch center.

About 500 customers remained without power around noon Wednesday, including the 70 damaged homes. [Read more...]

Forecast: Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain; tornado, flood watches issued

NWS Severe Thunderstorms, Rain, Wind

Image courtesy National Weather Service in Morristown.

 

Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, and flooding are possible in the region starting Monday evening and continuing through Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

Isolated tornadoes are possible, mainly across the Cumberland Plateau and southern half of the Tennessee Valley, the Weather Service said. A tornado watch remains in effect until 8 p.m. Monday for southwestern Virginia and East Tennessee. The watch includes Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties, among others.

The flood watch is in effect from 8 p.m. today until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The National Weather Service said its main concerns are the isolated tornadoes, widespread damaging winds that could cause power outages due to fallen trees and power lines, and heavy rainfall producing flash flooding. Large hail is also possible.

The forecast near Oak Ridge calls for a 60 percent chance of heavy rain this afternoon, with a 100 percent chance of severe thunderstorms tonight. [Read more...]

Weather: Schools, courts, offices closed; Wildcats sectional game now on Tuesday

Note: This story was last updated at 1:20 p.m.

Schools in Anderson County, Clinton, and Knox and Morgan counties are closed today (Monday) because of weather conditions and possible icing. And the Wildcats boys’ basketball sectional game in Kingsport, featuring Oak Ridge and Dobyns-Bennett, has been postponed to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Roane State Community College is closing its Campbell, Cumberland, Morgan, Scott, and Fentress county campuses due to icy roads. The campuses in Oak Ridge and Loudon, Knox, and Roane counties are open, but classes at the Clinton facility have been canceled.

The afternoon docket for the Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton has been canceled starting at 1 p.m. The afternoon docket for Anderson County Juvenile Court has also been canceled. And the Anderson County Courthouse closed at 1 p.m.

Tennessee officials said state offices will be closed the remainder of the day statewide, but mission-critical state employees will report to work as usual. [Read more...]

Most snow in about 15 years, Weather Service says

Snowman at Blankenship Field

Kids build a snowman at Blankenship Field on Thursday morning after more than eight inches of snow fell in Oak Ridge. From left are Killian Fillmore, Andrew Bivens, Gavin Hensley, and Liam Hensley.

Note: This story was last updated at 5:02 p.m. with more photos.

More than eight inches of snow fell in parts of Oak Ridge between Wednesday night and Thursday morning as a major winter storm hit the Southeast, and there were reports of as much as 10 to 12 inches in parts of Anderson County. A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Morristown said it’s the most snow in East Tennessee in more than a decade.

“It’s been about 15 years since we’ve had a snow like this,” NWS Meteorologist David Hotz said. “This is definitely one of the best ones we’ve had in quite a while.”

The last snowfall of a similar magnitude that he could recall was in either 1998 or 1999.

Other big snowfalls include the historic 1993 storm and a winter storm in 1996 that dumped 15 to 17 inches.

More than eight inches of snow fell in parts of Oak Ridge between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and there were reports of as much as 10 to 12 inches in parts of Anderson County. A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Morristown said it's the most snow in East Tennessee in more than a decade.  "It's been about 15 years since we've had a snow like this," NWS Meteorologist David Hotz said. “This is definitely one of the best ones we’ve had in quite a while.”  The last snowfall of a similar magnitude that he could recall was in either 1998 or 1999.  Other big snowfalls include the historic 1993 storm and a 1996 storm that dumped 15 to 17 inches.  The wet, heavy snow that started falling in Oak Ridge at about 7 p.m. Wednesday—it was the second round of snow that day—continued into Thursday morning. But with temperatures rising Thursday morning and the sun coming out, much of the snow was quickly melting.  Still, many roads, particularly side streets, still had slush on them, and there were a few slippery spots.  Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department worked all day Wednesday, through the night, and into Thursday morning. They put down two layers of brine, or highly salted water, before the snow started and switched to salt trucks and snow plows once the snow started falling.  Public Works Department Gary Cinder said there were no major problems.  “It’s been a calm event," Cinder said. "It was a heavy snow. It was deep enough that we could push it, and it was wet enough that it would slide easily. It wasn’t sticking because of the brine.”  It might have helped that many people stayed off the roads as many offices, schools, and businesses closed early on Wednesday—if they hadn't already been closed for the day—and remained closed on Thursday.  Cinder said the Public Works Department was able to keep the main streets relatively clear. At times, the snow was heavy enough, though, that the snow was recovering roads that crews had already plowed.  “A lot of times, they just had to go back and forth," Cinder said.  Cinder said there were a few trees down and a few isolated power outages.  In Anderson County, Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Anderson County Highway Department were working to clear the snow, but roads remained hazardous.  "Travel is not advised," Lucas said in a Thursday morning e-mail. "We had several reports of minor accidents with cars off in the ditch or stuck in the snow, but since the snow didn't begin to fall until the evening hours, traffic was light. There also have been a few trees down as well."  Lucas said there were also some power outages overnight, but it appeared that the Clinton Utilities Board had most of those restored except for a few isolated areas.  He advised residents to check with CUB for details and said power outages can be viewed at http://outage.clintonub.com.  Deputies went to their "snow plan" Wednesday evening and are patrolling the county in four-wheel-drive vehicles.  "We are responding only to accidents with injury or those that are a significant traffic hazard," Lucas said.  Cinder said Oak Ridge has eight trucks outfitted with snow plows in the front and salt spreaders in the back. The city has two bins that, when fully loaded, can store 2,400 tons of salt. Oak Ridge has plenty of salt for the rest of the winter, he said.  There about 220 miles of roads in Oak Ridge and crews focus first on main streets and state routes such as Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, then collector city streets such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida avenues, and then neighborhood side—if the snow lasts long enough and is heavy enough. The number of lane miles that crews have to take care of is double the road mileage because crews have to go up streets in one lane and then back down them in another.  Hotz, the meteorologist, said water on East Tennessee roads could re-freeze tonight as the temperature drops into the 20s and that could cause problems, including black ice, especially on secondary streets that still have slush. Drivers should use caution when driving tonight, especially on secondary streets, although well-traveled roads and interstates should be in good shape, Hotz said.  He said there could be another smaller storm system late Friday and Friday night. It could start with rain that changes over to snow, and there could be some light accumulations in East Tennessee valleys, but more snow is expected in the mountains, Hotz said.  The temperature is expected to warm back up into the 50s and lower 60s next week, Hotz said.

Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department worked all day Wednesday and through the night into Thursday to clear roads, including South Illinois Avenue, as more than eight inches of snow fell in parts of the city.

The wet, heavy snow that started falling in Oak Ridge at about 7 p.m. Wednesday—it was the second round of snow that day—continued into Thursday morning. But with temperatures rising Thursday morning and the sun coming out, much of the snow was quickly melting.

Still, many roads, particularly side streets, still had slush on them, and there were a few slippery spots.

Crews from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department worked all day Wednesday, through the night, and into Thursday morning. They put down two layers of brine, or highly salted water, before the snow started and switched to salt trucks and snow plows once the snow started falling.

Public Works Department Gary Cinder said there were no major problems. [Read more...]

Weather Service warns of dangerous driving conditions as second round of snow starts

Snowfall at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Rutgers Avenue

Heavy snow falls in Oak Ridge at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, and weather officials are warning of extremely dangerous driving conditions across the region.

The National Weather Service in Morristown warned of extremely dangerous driving conditions across the region on Wednesday night as a second round of snow started in Oak Ridge.

The 7 p.m. evening snow followed an earlier round of snow at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The Weather Service said the snow and subfreezing temperatures in the region will create slick roads and travel concerns across the region.

“Roads will become extremely treacherous overnight as snow and ice continues to accumulate and build up,” forecasters said. [Read more...]

Significant snowfall possible, forecasters say; one to five inches locally

A major winter storm hitting the Southeast on Tuesday and Wednesday could dump three to five inches in the Tennessee Valley and southern Cumberland Plateau, and six to nine inches in the mountains, the National Weather Service in Morristown said.

Accumulations in Anderson and Roane counties could range between one and five inches from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning. Knoxville and Knox County are expected to get between three and five inches.

The forecast near Oak Ridge calls for a 20 percent chance of snow as early as Tuesday night, with a low of 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of snow all day, with a high of 36 and a low of 27. The chance of snow falls to 20 percent on Thursday, with a high of 43.

A local winter storm watch is in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday. [Read more...]

Widespread snowfall could taper off tonight

Sledding at Blankenship Field

A few people enjoy the snow near Blankenship Field on Tuesday evening.

Many schools, including in Oak Ridge, dismissed students early on Tuesday because of the snow, and Anderson County Schools will be closed on Wednesday.

(Update: Oak Ridge Schools will also be closed Wednesday.)

The snow that started late Tuesday morning is expected to continue through the evening in the valleys, tapering off around midnight in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

Snow and ice caused traffic problems on slippery roads across the region. Some cars and trucks had trouble driving up hilly roads in Oak Ridge. [Read more...]