Storm Levels A Number of Homes, Causes Numerous Injuries Near Lake Chickamauga And In Bradley, McMinn Counties

Friday, March 2, 2012
- photo by Amy Maxwell

A tornado passing through Northern Hamilton County shortly after noon on Friday leveled a number of homes in the vicinity of Lake Chickamauga.

So far no fatalities have been reported to the command post.

Amy Maxwell of Hamilton County Emergency Management said about 20 homes were ripped off their foundations at Shorttail Springs Road. There was also heavy damage in the vicinity of Savannah Trail and at Island Cove Marina, which had a number of boats damaged. 

At 5 p.m. she said the total number of victims that were received at Hamilton County hospitals was at 15. Fourteen of those were at Erlanger and one at TC Thompson Children's Hospital. No information was given as to the extent of all the injuries on the patients transported to the hospital.

Involved were approximately 200 responders with 20 response agencies and 60+ response vehicles..

The tornado roared on into Bradley County and McMinn County. Several houses were reportedly heavily damaged in Bradley County near the Hamilton County line and there was heavy damage near Etowah, Tn., in the vicinity of County Road 850.

A new line of storms came through around dark, causing damage along Browns Ferry Road in Lookout Valley and in downtown Chattanooga.

Initial reports show at least two people were injured by severe storms that moved through Bradley County. Both injuries appear to be the result of entrapments and both were transported to the hospital. One of the individuals, a woman, is listed in stable condition. She was injured when her home, which is located just south of the Belfounte/Old Charleston Road intersection, was completely destroyed. Several other houses in this area also report damage.

Three EMA field assessment teams have returned with the initial damage report. There are three homes destroyed, 12 homes with major damage, 18 homes with minor damage and a total of 45 affected. Much of the damage is in the Candies Lane/Georgetown Road area, Hopewell area and North Lee Highway between Cleveland and Charleston. There are also unconfirmed reports of damage to the Bradley Square Mall on Paul Huff Parkway.

Trees are down across the city and county resulting in several power outages. Cleveland Utilities report 1,041 customers are still without power.

Several roads were closed by falling trees. City and county crews are working to push the debris to the side of the road to clear access for emergency crews and local residents. Four roads are still reported closed at this time but are expected to be cleared in a couple of hours. Volunteer chain saw crews, coordinated by the Bradley Baptist Association, will be mobilized Saturday morning to assist with tree and debris removal. Those needing assistance should call 476-5493.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Department has set up a command post at the Senior Center on Urbane Road. The Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross has opened a temporary shelter at St. Therese Catholic Church for those individuals who may not have a place to stay. It is located at 900 Clingan Ridge Drive in Cleveland.

The Ooltewah Baptist Church at 5514 Main St. in Ooltewah has opened its gym to offer services to the public in the affected area of the storm.

At 1 p.m., Hamilton County  Emergency Services activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann issued the following statement on the tornadoes in East Tennessee: “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the severe weather and tornadoes in Tennessee today.   My staff and I are monitoring reports of tornado activity throughout the area, and I will be working closely with local and state authorities to provide support for victims.  As we remain in a tornado watch, I encourage all East Tennesseans to go to a safe location and stay there until authorities give the all clear.” 

Hamilton County Sheriff's department reports the following roads closures:

 

All 11-64 exit ramps from I-75 onto 11-64 are closed

Shorttail Springs at Hunter Road

Island Point at Greenwood

Snowhill Rd.at Greenwood

Mahan Gap at Snowhill

Ooltewah Georgetown at Mahan Gap

Roy Ln. at Providence

Snowhill at Shorttail Springs 

Little Debbie at Apison Pike

Hunter Road at Mountain View

 

Hamilton County schools will dismiss one hour early "in order to get all of our students home in anticipation of severe weather this evening."

Buses will run normal routes.  After school child care and all evening extracurricular activities are cancelled.

Some other school systems have decided to send students home early with the threat of severe weather in their area

School Closings:

Boyd-Buchanan School dismissing at 1 p.m.

Cherokee County 12:30 p.m.

Chickamauga 2 p.m. 

Cumberland County 12:30 p.m.

Grundy County 12:30 p.m.

Marion County Noon

McMinn County 1 p.m.

Rhea County 2:10 p.m.

Richard Hardy 12:30 p.m.

Polk County 1 p.m.

Chattanooga Christian School - no after school activities

 

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