Straight line winds in excess of 90 miles per hour caused significant damage in Spring City early Sunday morning, according to county officials.
Areas around Sandtown Road, Shut In Gap Road, Cedine and Watts Bar Estates all saw wind damage that toppled trees and power lines, Rhea County Emergency Management Director Jackie Reavley said on Monday as he was in the Spring City area assessing the damage.
“We had a lot of trees down and some buildings damaged,” Reavley said. “We had probably about 25 power poles that were broken, so we have a lot of damage as far as the electric system goes.”
Reavley said that crews worked to clear roads and as of Monday afternoon, electric crews were working to reconnect power areas hit by the storm. He said that power could be out for a few days in some areas.
The National Weather Service estimated winds were a little over 90 miles per hour, Reavley said, which is similar to the wind speed generated by an F1 tornado.
“Whether it was straight line winds or a tornado, we had significant damage,” Rhea County Executive George Thacker said.
Thacker said that county crews went to work after the storm to begin clearing the roads, and Thacker praised Rhea County Road Supervisor Glen Varner for deploying road crews to the area quickly.
“We did everything we could to open the roads up,” Thacker said. “We’re sitting here worrying about the coronovirus, and now we have tornado-level winds causing damage. We may be going through some difficult times right nor, but we’ll get through this too.”