A possible tornado touched down this evening on Chickamauga Dam, causing a multiple-car pileup and shutting down both sides of the highway, officials said.
Five people, incliuding one child, were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said officer Rebecca Royval, spokeswoman for the Chattanooga police.
National Weather Service observation program leader Craig Carpenter said a Hamilton County EMS supervisor saw the tornado touchdown on the dam and hit a car, starting the accident.
The tornado hit the southbound lane of Highway 153, but several drivers on the northbound side, seeing what was happening, lost control and crashed, Royval said.
The dam will be closed while Inspectors with TVA and the Tennessee Department of Transportation examine it, she said.
Just up the northern bank of Chickamauga Lake, another unconfirmed tornado touched down on Queen Aire Lane in Hixson, damaging at least five houses, Royval said. There were no reported injuries but a substantial damage, she said.
Residents at Lakeshore Apartments on Lake Resort Drive near the dam also reported that roofs were blown off some buildings.
The other touchdowns were all part of the same storm, officials said, and reports began coming into EMS at 6:50 p.m.
EPB reported about 2,000 homes were without power about 8 p.m. in the Hixson and Northgate areas, according to EPB officials.
The tornado warning was issued for Hamilton County at 6:16 p.m. Tuesday.
Hamilton County Schools will delay opening by two hours today, but schools will be dismissed on time.
Confirmations of tornadoes must be made by the National Weather Service, said Sharon Barker, a supervisor at the Hamilton County Emergency Management Services 911 Center.
Officials at the weather service said they will wait until morning to inspect the damage and confirm whether tornadoes actually hit.
Return to www.timesfreepress.com throughout the evening for updates.