Storm downs trees, power lines in Sevier County

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 11:35 PM

While Sevier County fell under a tornado warning Thursday afternoon, and at least one caller to emergency dispatch reported seeing a twister in the area, officials said the severe storms that moved through the area mostly resulted in downed trees and scattered power outages.

Heavy rains and winds reaching 80 mph were reported in the area, and a 911 dispatcher said at least one caller reported seeing a tornado in the East Balls Hollow area. But most of the damage reported in the county was downed trees and power lines, including some lines along Chapman Highway, the dispatcher said.

Downed power lines were scattered across the county, and Sevier County Electric System spokesman Allen Robbins said there were a lot of isolated pockets with outages. The most concentrated areas were in Wears Valley and Jones Cove.

Because they were scattered, Robbins said it could be into the night before power was restored to some customers. “Some of them are going to take a little bit,” he said. “We’re working on our crew schedule.”

Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals said deputies had seen lots of downed trees in Jones Cove, and were directing traffic in areas where downed trees or power lines crossed over roads.

“There’s a lot of damage up Dixon Branch, Rocky Flats and Jones Cove,: he said. “There’s a lot of trees down and lines down. Deputies are up there right now assessing it.”

No injuries were reported in the storm, he said.

The damage appeared mostly to have missed the homes in the area, although Sevier County Rescue Squad helped to clear away a tree that fell near a home on Valentine Branch Road.

Seymour Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call about a structure fire at a house that had been struck by lightning, but a spokesman said the fire report turned out to be a false alarm.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com