Heavy storms hit the Lakeway Area Monday afternoon that left thousands without power and downed trees with the brunt of the storm hitting Cocke and Jefferson counties.
But forecasters warn it’s not the end of the storms for this week, as a front has moved in that will unleash heavy rain and hail.
“It’s a really active pattern for the week,” said Derek Eisentrout, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Morristown.
More storms could be produced today. Eisentrout said the forecast appears that Thursday will have the most potential for severe storms that could blow through the Lakeway Area.
He said the forecast calls for storms to continue through the week and into the weekend.
The storm yesterday started around 3 p.m. and first went through Cocke County before heading west into Jefferson and Hamblen counties.
Thousands were without power in Cocke and Jefferson counties after the storm ran through the southern half of the Lakeway Area.
Joe McCarter, vice president of engineering and operations at Appalachian Electric Cooperative, said at the height of the storm that electric service had 2,500 members without power. The hardest hit areas were in Dandridge and around Cherokee Dam, he said. There was also an outage in Alpha in Hamblen County.
The outage occurred mostly because of downed power lines, he said.
“Most everything was from wind and trees,” he said.
In Hamblen County, Morristown Utility Services officials said there were only a spattering of isolated outages and, at the most, 29 customers were out.
The hardest hit area was Cocke County, which had more than 2,800 customers without power.
Sharon Kyser, public information officer for Newport Utilities, said even the main facility for the utility company and Newport Medical Center lost power. The hospital’s power was restored by 6 p.m., she said.
She said the downtown area of Newport had electricity back on fairly quickly.
Crews worked until 4 a.m. Tuesday to get power restored to all customers in Cocke County.
There was flooding downtown and trees that fell all around Newport, according to Police Chief Maurice Shults.
“A giant tree fell on East Broadway and struck several cars parked in the East Broadway Shopping Center,” he said. “We also had to remove another large tree after the top was knocked off of it.”
The falling trees also took down power lines which fell onto vehicles. Police urged motorists to stay in their vehicles until the power in the lines could be shut down.
Newport street department personnel worked for four hours and were joined by workers from Wolf Tree Service in removing the trees.
Traffic on East Broadway had to be rerouted around the closed East Broadway onto Main Street and through the parking lot of the Conagra plant.
Shults said Mineral Street and other areas also sustained severe damage from falling trees.
“We are just taking our time clearing the streets and pushing the debris to the side and we will pick it up in a few days once we get the roads cleared.”
The chief said there were no reported injuries as the result of the storm, however, a number of vehicles were damaged by the falling trees.
Another very large tree fell onto the mobile home of Jack and Janet Collins on Wells Drive. Relatives said the Collins couple was headed to Nashville when the storm came through, but they turned around and came back home. Dogs inside the residence were not injured.
In addition to high water and downed trees, the railroad signals flashed and blared for some time through the downtown, even though there was no train in sight.
Power was knocked out in downtown by 3:30 p.m. The courthouse also lost power, resulting in the monthly meeting of the Cocke County Legislative Body being postponed. Shults said power service in the downtown area had to be rebuilt and it was 11:40 p.m. when electricity was restored.