Severe wind at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport peeled back part of the copper covering the passenger terminal dome. That caused water to leak into the terminal, officials said. / Contributed photo by Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport

This story was updated Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 6:58 p.m. with more information.

Repairs are underway to Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport's signature copper-topped dome after a severe storm on Tuesday peeled off about a third of the material.

About a half dozen buckets inside the passenger terminal were collecting rainwater which had seeped in after the dome was damaged by what airport officials called "a micro-burst" that caused high winds.

Blake Poole, the airport's vice president of air service and economic development, said he was sitting at Lovell Field's offices watching the storm when he noticed parts of the roof on the dome coming off.

"It was really raining hard. Then we started seeing debris," he said, adding that airport officials could tell it had come from the dome because of the shiny copper color.

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About a third of the copper covering on the dome at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport was torn off by severe rain and winds Tuesday. That caused water to leak into the passenger terminal. / Staff photo by Mike Pare

No other damage was reported at the airport from the 2 p.m. storm, but officials scrambled to find buckets to collect rainwater dripping from the roof at the entrance of the terminal.

"Everything kept operating," Poole said.

Several crews from J.D. Helton Roofing Co. were summoned and worked to temporarily patch the distinctive dome until permanent repairs could be made. A cost estimate wasn't immediately available.

Rusty Payne, a Chattanoogan who was at the airport on Tuesday, said he had been at home when rough weather conditions started over his residence.

When he arrived at the airport, he said he saw the workers on the dome and initially thought they were just routinely redoing the roof.

"It's not going to be a cheap fix," Payne said.

Carla Sanderlin said she was picking up her sister at the airport, whose plane had landed just after the storm passed through.

"She said it was a bumpy ride," Sanderlin said.

The airport's current passenger terminal, featuring the dome, opened in 1992. Shortly after opening, some airline pilots complained about the sun's reflection off the dome and airport officials dulled its surface.

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An airplane that had a rocky landing sits at the Chattanooga airport. Staff photo by Mike Pare.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident Tuesday afternoon, a small airplane with three people aboard had a rocky landing. The plane reported it had landing gear issues, according to the airport.

Fire and rescue personnel scrambled to the airfield as the plane made a few passes around the airport, and it landed safely though the plane's nose ran along the ground.

Airport spokesman Albert Waterhouse said that air traffic was delayed about 90 minutes while the damaged plane was pulled to a safety area. No one aboard the plane was injured, he said.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.