State records damage, no injuries
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 8:01 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Storms rolling through Tennessee in waves spawned likely tornadoes, caused widespread damage and added to flooding problems today, and there was still more to come.
What appeared to be a tornado struck just outside Chattanooga in Tiftonia, at the base of Lookout Mountain, in the morning.
Angela Milchack, 29, had just dropped off her son at Lookout Valley Elementary School. Students took cover and none were hurt.
“It just sounded like the wind was blowing really, really hard,” she said.
Her husband Eric Milchack, a police officer, was asleep when the storm struck. A tree fell on the couple’s car and the city police cruiser he had driven home. Damage to their home was extensive.
Police officers walked down the street, spray-painting symbols at houses they had checked for people who might be inside.
Tops were snapped off trees and insulation and metal roof panels littered the ground.
Mark Rose, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Nashville, said today that firefighters in Murfreesboro sighted a funnel cloud around 6 a.m. shortly after the weather service issued a tornado warning for Rutherford County.
“We have many, many reports of power being out and trees being down all over Murfreesboro,” Rose said.
Damage reports were so widespread across Middle Tennessee that is was unlikely all of them could be investigated for tornado touchdown today.
Dean Flenor, a spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency in Nashville, said this morning that there had been no storm-related deaths or serious injuries reported statewide.
He said the state command center has not yet received a report from the Rutherford County EMA director.
“That tells me they’re very busy,” Flenor said.
There were many reports of local flooding in West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee, Flenor said. About 20 families were at a shelter in Jackson.
Also in West Tennessee, earlier downpours forced the evacuation of some personnel at a naval installation at Millington. About 220 people were moved to hotels from housing at the Naval Support Activity Mid-South after a stream came out of its banks in a low-lying area of the base, which was previously the Millington Naval Air Station. The facility is north of Memphis.
Associated Press Writer Bill Poovey in Chattanooga contributed to this report.
Published in The Messenger 4.27.11