Meteorologists are predicting weather conditions today similar to Monday, when storms created strong winds, at least one tornado and some flash flooding.

Moisture, unstable air and "turning motion" in the winds can create conditions for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, said Tim Troutman, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn.

"There's a slight risk for severe weather and threat for damaging winds and hail, [and there] could be a threat of isolated tornadoes across the area," Troutman said.

The meteorologist was at Harrison First Baptist Church on Monday afternoon, where just hours before a 70-mph tornado damaged the roof and some signs, traveling a tenth of a mile before dissipating.

Earlier Monday morning, Chattanooga firefighters responded when lightning struck a tree at 2502 Mahala Lane, which caused a limb to fall and hit a power line, igniting a fire that burned through a water line, said Bruce Garner, department spokesman.

Another lightning strike at 7 a.m. on the 4600 block of Swan Road had firefighters rushing to extinguish a small blaze that started near a propane tank.

EPB officials said 2,600 customers were without power because of storm damage, and all but 393 had their power restored by Monday evening. Most of the outages occurred in North Georgia, the St. Elmo area and Harrison, they said.

Bill Tittle, chief of emergency management for Hamilton County, said the most severe reports came from the Highway 58 area and parts of St. Elmo.

Reports of similar weather expected later today were being passed on to EPB, police, fire, public works and other emergency agencies, Tittle said.

In North Georgia, the storm system brought hail and high winds, which knocked down trees and power lines, said Matt Sena, a meteorologist at the weather service's office in Peachtree City, Ga. Wind damage in Walker County caused county schools to be delayed two hours, he said.

"We definitely needed the rain but could have done without the wind," Sena said.


Today's forecast calls for a high near 79 with thunderstorms.

Troutman said November is part of the secondary tornado season in Tennessee, and residents should stay informed of weather conditions.

Weather patterns in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region show the possibility of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes this afternoon and into the evening, he said.

"If in a vehicle, in advance of weather find three to five locations along your normal route to get off the road," Troutman said. "An 80-mph wind can lift and throw a vehicle."

If residents are in a building they should put "as many walls between you and the high winds" as they can, he said.

Staff writer Michael Stone contributed to this story.

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