published Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Astounding storm damage, but no loss of life

The extent of the damage from last Friday's tornadoes, hail and severe storms is still being calculated, but here are some preliminary numbers on the disaster and its toll in our region:

• At least six tornadoes, stretching from Marion County, Tenn., to Murphy, N.C., were confirmed. The strongest was an EF3 that hit near Harrison in Hamilton County and then entered Bradley County.

• There were an as-yet-undetermined number of serious injuries.

• Damage exceeds $19 million in the region.

• Seventy-seven homes in Harrison and Ooltewah were destroyed, and 40 homes were destroyed in McMinn County. Damage was also heavy in Bradley County.

• Hundreds more homes had significant damage, and hundreds of people are homeless.

• Hail damaged thousands of cars.

• Thousands of homes lost power, though it has mostly been restored.

But there is one more statistic that should not go unmentioned -- a statistic for which we all should give thanks:

• At least as of this writing, not one death in our area had been linked to Friday's severe weather.

It has been said so often that it is a bit of a cliché, but it is still true: Things can be replaced, but people can't.

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