View in Lookout Valley near Elder Mountain with approaching huge storm cloudsPhoto by Stacey Wysong
Damage and injuries were reported in the Chattanooga area today in the wake of a fast-moving storm — with reports of tornadoes — about mid-day today.
The Hamilton County Emergency Operations Center on Amnicola Highway was activated.
Damage was reported in Harrison, particularly, with a house on Davis Mill Road said to be destroyed.
The 7200 block of Short Tail Springs Road in Harrison also reportedly sustained damage.
Bay Shore Drive was reported to be impassable.
"I've got more houses than I can count," said an unnamed emergency worker, in connection with damage in Harrison.
Janice Atkinson, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's office, said there had been a tornado in the Hunter Road in Ooltewah.
Early this afternoon, Bob Gault of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office said there were "unconfirmed reports that a tornado had touched down near Cleveland State Community College."
He also said damage had occurred to the roof of the Yates Primary School on Mouse Creek Road while there was damage to nearby homes.
He said he didn't know if there was damage at the nearby Ross Elementary School.
He said he had seen “a possible funnel cloud” as he traveled across Payne Gap hill to Yates.
In Hamilton County a command post has been set up for emergency response teams at Ooltewah High School.
WRCB-TV reported earlier today that a spotter had seen a tornado on the ground about 10 miles northwest of Chattanooga.
Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles had said earlier his Bonny Oaks office staff had taken shelter in the building's basement.
"We're battling a tornado right now," he said. "We've closed our office."
He said at the Hamilton County Courthouse downtown people were in the stairwells.
About mid-day today, WRCB-TV, Channel 3, was reporting a tornado had passed over Signal Mountain and was headed toward Hixson in the vicinity of Northgate Mall.
The WRCB-TV meteorologist had suggested that Red Bank residents take shelter as it appeared the tornado was passing over that area.
He had also reported earlier that the tornado was about 3,000 feet up and was moving speedily.