Left Downed Trees,
BY O.J. EARLY
AND KEN LITTLE
High winds swept through southern Greene County on Thursday afternoon, damaging several homes and other structures, obstructing dozens of roads and leaving thousands of customers temporarily without electricity.
Between 20 and 30 roads in areas south of Greeneville were blocked, or partially blocked, by fallen trees and other debris, according to County Road Superintendent David Weems.
At least 4,000 Greeneville Light & Power System (GL&PS) customers lost power at some point on Thursday because of wind damage, according to Jim Glaze, GL&PS customer service director.
Nearly all of the power had been restored by this morning, Glaze said.
Most of the wind-related damage took place in the South Greene, Greystone, Camp Creek, DeBusk, Sunnyside and Horse Creek areas, according to reports by Weems and others.
A wind advisory remains in effect for Greene County until 7 p.m.
BIG RIG BLOWN OVER
On Sunnydale Road, in the Camp Creek area, a tractor-trailer truck overturned as a result of the high winds, Weems said.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol report said a 2000 International tractor-trailer carrying no cargo was southbound on Sunnydale Road "when the trailer was lifted off the ground by heavy winds, and the vehicle overturned in the middle of the roadway."
The driver, 59-year-old Douglas Van McKay, of Greeneville, suffered minor injures.
He was taken to a local hospital in a personal vehicle, treated and later released, the report said.
The tractor-trailer is owned by Valk Industries, which is located near where the truck overturned.
The incident slowed traffic for several hours.
"That's been about the worst thing [that happened]," Weems said Thursday of the overturned 18-wheeler. "There have been a couple sheds that have blown off partially in the road."
The tractor-trailer was removed about 4:30 p.m., according to Michael Hopson, an employee with Malone's Wrecker Service.
All roads that were blocked, or partially blocked, had been cleared by Thursday night, Weems said.
Several homes and structures were damaged in the wind storm.
The howling winds blew part of a roof off a house about 12:15 p.m. Thursday at 3785 Sunnydale Road. The resident was listed as Tina Beach by deputies.
Damage estimates for the roof were not available.
The Greene County Sheriff's Department was on the scene.
"A wind blew the roof off of their home [and] the family was forced to evacuate the home," Deputy Nakia Tweed said in a report.
The Camp Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services responded.
No injuries were reported.
The damaged house was in the immediate track of one of the tornadoes that devastated sections of Greene County in April 2011.
The roof of a shed, as well as some of its sides, were blown off at a home on Birdwell Mill Road.
In addition, a home near Camp Creek Elementary School received major roof damage.
ROAD, POWER CREWS BUSY
Crews from the County Highway Department worked until Thursday evening to remove portions of trees and other debris from roads in the southern part of the county, Weems said.
According to Bill Carroll, GL&PS general manager, most of the GL&PS customers who lost power were affected as a direct result of trees blowing into power lines.
In a few instances, utility poles were broken as a result of the wind, Carroll added. Several poles on Camp Creek Road were broken.
At least 2,000 GL&PS customers were without power at the same time, Glaze told The Greeneville Sun this morning.
FALLEN TREES WIDESPREAD
As high winds raked the Camp Creek community and other areas of southern Greene County, the dispatchers at the county Sheriff's Department were kept very busy.
Trees were reported down on Mt. Hebron Road, McCoy Road, Camp Creek Road, Greystone Road, the Asheville Highway, Shakerag Road, Fork Deer Road, South Allens Bridge Road, Greenwood Road, Jay Fanning Road, Alexander Ferry Lane, Barren Road, and Walker's Ford Road.
Power lines, hay and other items such as barn parts were reported down on Bill Martin Road, Amity Road, Parman Road, Ripley Island Road, Walters Road, Walker's Ford Road and Chimney Top Loop.
GREENEVILLE: LESS IMPACT
Greeneville police reported trash cans, boxes, cable lines and small trees down along several roads throughout the course of the day.
"Nothing major. Nothing we couldn't handle by officers," Lt. Alan Dotson said.
WINDS WERE EXPECTED
Terry Getz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, said that because of the unseasonably warm temperatures, coupled with an approaching cold front, the high winds were to be expected.
"You get that big pressure difference between the warm and the cold air, and you get winds that strong," Getz said.
Wind measurements in Greene County were not available this morning, but Getz estimated gusts between 50 and 75 mph in southern Greene County on Thursday.
For perspective, Getz said, a gust of 84 mph was measured at 10:35 a.m. two miles southwest of the Pittman Center in Sevier County. A 100-mph gust was measured Thursday five miles south of Gatlinburg, he said.
The National Weather Service in Morristown began receving reports of wind damage in Greene County about 1 p.m., he said.