Some areas likely to go several days without power, NWS confirms storm was tornado

Some areas likely to go several days without power, NWS confirms storm was tornado

March 1st, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in Local - Breaking News

About 450 EPB employees are working to restore power to the 11,500 homes and businesses across the Chattanooga area still without electricity after intense winds and rain ripped across Tennessee Monday.

Some areas might not see power for several days due to extensive damage, according to EPB spokeswoman Lacie Newton. She said problems such as 45 broken poles, which take from four to 12 hours to replace, kept crews busy through the night into today.

Red Bank was hit particularly hard - the area still has more than 2,000 outages - as were Hixson, Signal Mountain and the Shallowford Road area, she said.

Mike Garrett stands next to downed power lines on Mountain View Avenue on Monday afternoon. High winds and rain caused heavy damage to some areas of Chattanooga.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

Much of the damage was caused by falling trees uprooted when 60- to 70-mile-per-hour winds blasted Hamilton County, causing millions in damage.

"The houses that I've already seen and the difficulties I've already seen, we're definitely that high," said John Thomason, certified arborist for ABC Tree Services. "When you destroy a house, you're not talking about $10,000 worth of damage, you're talking about $200,000 or better."

Thomason said his company was removed trees from houses for 15 hours Monday and expects to be out working another 15 hours today.

City crews worked through the night and are still trying to clear roads of more than 150 downed trees and repair damaged electric lines on public items such as traffic lights.

A National Weather Service spokesman confirmed that yesterday's storm was an EF1 tornado.