By Mike ONeal
At least seven people were killed today when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across central Tennessee, tearing off roofs, knocking down power lines, flipping cars and causing an unknown number of injuries, authorities said.
Chattanooga area officials and emergency responders spent the day preparing for the severe weather thunderstorms, lightning, hail and possibly tornadoes that the National Weather Service forecast to pummel the area late today and early Saturday.
The Weather Service Prediction Center models show the approaching storm as being potentially more dangerous than the one that claimed 24 lives when three tornadoes swept over West Tennessee on April 2.
Officials said there is no need to panic, but households and individuals should use common sense.
I encourage individuals to follow updated weather information, said Hamilton County Emergency Services director Don Allen. Warnings from all sources indicate that this is something more severe than normal.
Extra police and sheriffs deputies, 911 emergency dispatchers and EPB crews are working this evening and will be on alert until potential danger of the storm and possible flooding has passed, officials said.
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See tomorrows Chattanooga Times Free Press for full coverage.