Deadly storms move through area

The Sav-a-Lot in Athnes was badly damaged. (Image: WTVC)

Much of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area is waking up Wednesday to learn storms from overnight did quite a bit of damage.


McMinn County

Marion County

Meigs County

Jackson County

Polk County


Erlanger says these are who doctors are treating Wednesday from the overnight storms:

  • 8 adults in fair condition
  • 3 adults in critical condition
  • 2 children in fair condition


"At least eight counties in Tennessee experienced a severe weather outbreak overnight, with weather spotters reporting tornado touchdowns. This morning, local officials are conducting damage assessments, weather permitting. The National Weather Service, weather permitting, will conduct surveys of the severe weather impact in the counties to confirm tornado touchdowns. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has deployed district coordinators to assist local officials in Coffee and Polk counties.

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) has confirmed two fatalities (husband and wife) in Polk County from the severe weather outbreak. TDOH also reports injuries in Polk County, Marion County, and McMinn County. Details below in county-by-county rundown.

  • Bedford, Bradley Coffee, Franklin, and Sequatchie counties all report structural damage and some power lines downed, no reports of injuries or fatalities.
  • Marion County: 3 injured and transported. Command post set up at Frank Tate Road, Hwy. 283. Reports of multiple collapsed structures, downed trees and power lines.
  • Monroe County: Providing ambulance and fire assistance to McMinn County to assist.
  • McMinn County: Deerfield Estates Community (Athens) on SR 307 has severe damage and crews have accessed the area. Reports of multiple injuries, up to 23 persons, and structural damage to homes. Hamilton County has sent a search and team to McMinn to assist.
  • Polk County: Significant damage, including a U.S. Post Office.


We already know the overnight storms claimed lives in Jackson County.

Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips tells NewsChannel 9 that 5 people were inside a mobile home when it collapsed. 2 were injured, 3 were killed.

The three that were killed were in the same family. They have not yet been identified.

Sheriff Phillips says County Road 71 is closed through Rosalie due to downed power lines.

14 power line poles are needing to be replaced.

Authorities say three people have been killed as a line of storms and possible tornadoes moved across northern Alabama overnight Wednesday.

Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen tells The Associated Press the three killed were all in a mobile in Rosalie in northeast Alabama. Another person in the home was critically injured.

Harnen also said early Wednesday that there have been a number of other injuries and estimated that 16 to 20 structures in Jackson County have been destroyed.

National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Nash says there have been multiple reports of possible tornadoes across several counties in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee.

DeKalb County, Alabama EMA Director Anthony Clifton told us that four adults were injured and taken to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Watch:

A resident in Rosalie in Jackson County gave Katherine Marchand a tour of the damage:


We are also hearing several reports of damage and injuries in Athens.

McMinn County John Gentry says there have not yet been any reports of fatalities, but says about 20 people have been sent to the hospital with injuries, four of them critical.


Gentry says an active rescue operation is underway, with rescuers going door to door, checking on everyone.

Schools have been closed in Athens for the day, and also in McMinn County.

McMinn County Emergency Services is urging people who want to help to stay at home until requested:

From an e-mail: "McMinn County Mayor John Gentry requests that all well intentioned civic volunteers refrain from engaging until requested. This is due to active emergency operations taking place. Many scenes may still be too dangerous to enter due to downed power lines. Again, volunteers are asked not to enter areas affected by apparent tornadic activity. Athens City, McMinn County, and Etowah City schools are all closed for Wednesday, November 30, 2016."

Many viewers are sharing this uncredited photo of damage at a Sav-a-Lot.

Viewer April Hensley shared video of high winds in Athens at about 1:45 a.m.


Polk County's Sheriff confirms "a lot of damage" in the Ocoee area. A dispatcher later said that most of the damage is near Ocoee on Highway 64. The dispatcher says "I can confirm there are injuries, and I can confirm there have been homes that are damaged. The Sheriff's Department is going from house to house right now to make sure everyone's okay."

West Polk County Volunteer Fire & rescue says on Facebook that Highway 411 South is shut down in both directions. Anyone being affected by the storm can go to Polk County High School.

We have confirmed that the Ocoee Post Office has been destroyed. All mail will be delivered out of the Benton Post Office until further notice.

Other viewers are reporting damage in Polk County:


Highway 41 is closed in Grundy County as of 7:45 a.m. near Mountain Auto, according to a post on the Grundy County Sheriff's Department Facebook page.

Depend on us for updates on that story.


We are getting reports of damage near Dunlap, on East Valley Road.


A viewer shared some hailstones from the Georgetown area.

So, were any of these actual tornadoes? The National Weather Service has a team it dispatches to affected areas later in the day to check. Until that happens, we won't know officially whether any tornadoes touched down. But regardless, there's no denying these were powerful, deadly storms.

There storms have cause several power outages in our viewing ares. According to Volunteer Electric:

  • In Hamilton County there are over 300 people without power
  • Bradley County: 1,907
  • McMinn County: 966
  • Polk County: 2,255

EPB reports significant outages in the Nicakajack-Haletown area.

There are reports of flooding in East Brainerd:

There is also flooding in Ooltewah:

This is a developing story. Depend on NewsChannel 9 to bring you updates as we get them.