About 1,600 customers lost power during the two major bands of storms that ripped through Oak Ridge at around 8 p.m. and midnight Sunday night, Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs said.
The outages were concentrated around 15 distinct locations, and the east end of town was hit the hardest, Suggs said. The Oak Ridge Electric Department started working on repairs as soon as it could bring in people to help, and crews have been working continuously to restore power.
Suggs said most everyone had power restored by noon Monday. Others had had power restored earlier, some at midnight, more at 3 a.m., then still more by 4 a.m. The majority were back on by 7 a.m. Monday, and crews started “whittling away” at those who were left.
On Monday afternoon, there were a few homes without power on Plymouth Circle, where crews were making emergency repairs to damage that was discovered late, and roughly 25 homes did not have electricity on one side of Connors Circle in the Briarcliff neighborhood. Those residents have been without power since about midnight. Suggs said his best guess is that a lightning strike blew out an underground cable, possibly close to Briarcliff and Connors Circle.
He said it’s a frustrating experience for all, and the city appreciates residents’ patience and understanding.
“We will not stop or pull people until we have everyone back on,” Suggs said.
The Sunday night storms caused widespread damage in East Tennessee, and an EF-3 tornado was confirmed in Speedwell in Claiborne County. Baseball-size hail was reported in areas such as Oneida in Scott County and there were several suspected lightning strikes that caused damage. But there were no immediate reports of death or injuries.