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Straightline winds, heavy rains batter county

Straightline winds, heavy rains batter county
By KEVIN BOWDEN
and DONNA RYDER
Messenger Staff
Powerful straightline winds, measuring up to 60 miles per hour, and heavy rains battered Obion County Monday afternoon causing downed limbs and power outages.
Obion County Highway Superintendent Gary Lofton told The Messenger early today numerous trees and tree limbs were down across the county.
“It was scattered pretty much all over the county,” he said.
Lofton said calls began coming in to his office off East Reelfoot Avenue about 3:30 p.m. Monday and he and his crews mobilized to clear roadways around the county. The biggest problem, he said, were potent winds that knocked down trees that blocked roadways. His crews responded with chainsaws and other equipment they used to clear away the road obstructions.
“We were out most of the evening,” Lofton said this morning. “We’ve taken care of most of the damage.”
After cleaning up after the storms all evening, Lofton was back out on the road at 5:30 a.m. today checking for any remaining storm damage. He said the north end of the county and the mid-section were hit the hardest by Monday’s storm.
Lofton said straightline winds also damaged some roofs around the county.
Gibson Electric Membership Corporation reported about 4,600 members’ homes and businesses throughout its northwest Tennessee service area experienced outages on Monday due to the storm. The outages began at around 2:30 p.m. when strong storms pounded Lake and Obion counties. The storms also left outages in Dyer, Gibson, Madison and Crockett counties.
Union City Electric System general manager Jerry Bailey said the system lost a couple of circuits because of limbs and there were scattered outages, but everyone was back on about 5 p.m.
“We faired pretty good,” he said, adding “Tree trimming pays off.”
There were also heavy rains and strong lightning that accompanied the Monday afternoon storm. The Union City Fire Department was called out to Bel Aire Circle off of Old Troy Road about 3:30 p.m. to deal with a power line against a tree limb causing an electrical arc.
Powerful winds are being blamed for knocking over a tractor-trailer about 3 p.m. Monday as it was driving along Highway 45 West near the intersection with Ed Moffatt Road. There were no injuries reported in connection with the incident, which was handled by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
There was also a report around that same time of a large tree that had fallen into a house on Treece Road in the west end of the county.
The Obion County Sheriff’s Department was busy dealing with storm-related damage throughout the afternoon. Among the numerous calls handled by sheriff’s deputies were electric lines down on Samburg Road, a tree down over the railroad tracks in Polk Station, a tree across Troy-Protemus Road, a large tree over Jackson Hill Road, a tree across Sublett Road at the Highway 21 intersection, a telephone pole snapped in two at the intersection of North County Home Road and Old Troy Road, a tree down on Oak Ridge Road, a tree across the roadway at the intersection of Rives Road and Pleasant Valley Road, a tree across the road on Walnut Log Road, a large tree across the road on West Shawtown Road at Flippen’s Barn, a tree down across Country Club Road in the South Fulton area, a tree across Highway 22 just west of the Highway 157 intersection, water across a section of Knox Daniel Road, a tree across the railroad tracks at Harris Station, a tree down across Old Troy Road and construction barrels in the area of Airport Road and Highway 431 blown around by strong winds.
If there’s one good thing that came out of Monday’s storm it was the rainfall. The water gauge at the A.L. Strub Wastewater Plant in Union City measured 1.5 inches of rain.
Obion County University of Tennessee Extension Service office director Tim Smith said the farmers’ crops are already damaged by the drought, but to what extent is yet unknown.
“The last big rain really helped,” he said, adding any rain the area can get, including the rainfall Monday, is needed. Published in The Messenger  6.12.12

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