DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Survey teams with the National Weather Service in Morristown found preliminary evidence of three tornadoes touching down in East Tennessee as part of a storm system that moved across southern states on Thursday and killed at least nine people.
The twisters toppled trees and power lines, toppled a semi traveling on Interstate 40, and swept a portion of roofing off of a school.
One injury was reported in Meigs County as a result of the weather.
An EF0 tornado touched down at approximately 11:50 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12, southwest of Decatur in Meigs County. The twister developed near Highway 58 and tracked northwest. The report said the tornado, with winds estimated at 70 mph, was on the ground for about half a mile and left a path 150 yards wide.
A second EF0 tornado touched down west of Dandridge around 1:15 p.m. and crossed Deep Springs Road. Winds are estimated to have been around 70 mph. The survey team said this tornado was 30 yards wide and on the ground for just under half of a mile.
A third EF0 tornado, with winds slightly stronger at 80 mph, hit the Baneberry community in Jefferson County at about 1:30 p.m. This tornado is estimated to have been about 100 yards wide and stayed on the ground for two minutes, traveling just more than a mile, the survey crew reported.
National Weather Service records show East Tennessee averages six tornadoes a year since 1995. A total of 243 tornadoes have been reported in the region since 1950.
County officials said crews have been working around the clock to clear roads and clean up debris.
Preliminary information is subject to change pending the final review of the events and publication in National Weather Service Storm Data.