NWS confirms Tazewell tornado after line of deadly storms strike the South

Teacher Daniel Sauls, right, with the help of two students works on the greenhouse at Miller Boyd School in Hamblen County after the facility was damaged by high winds in Saturday’s storms. 

A confirmed small-scale tornado landed in Claiborne County Saturday evening, causing minimal damage throughout Tazewell and New Tazewell, according to the National Weather Service.

“It was fairly weak and short lived,” said Derrick Eisentrout, forecaster for the National Weather Service – Morristown.

Eisentrout said the tornado touched down at 5:50 p.m. and lasted for about three minutes.

He said the tornado registered as an F0, which is the lowest designation on how strong a tornado is categorized.

The maximum wind speed was 65 miles per hour, he said, and at its peak it was about 30 yards wide.

The tornado landed around Pine Street in New Tazewell.

Eisentrout said the damage reported included a roof blown off a barn, several uprooted trees, a tree hitting a house and damage to shingles to one home.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

It was the second time in three months Tazewell has been hit by a tornado. A tornado with 80 mph winds touched down in Tazewell on Oct. 31, according to the NWS.

The tornado came as a warm front came across East Tennessee, setting record high temperatures in January for Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.

Highs on Saturday were recorded in the upper 70s, well above the normal temperature of 46 degrees for this month.

Eisentrout said there was numerous reports of damage across the Lakeway Area on Saturday with power outages and trees blown down.

“Most counties had reports of trees down,” he said.

He said the coming week will not see storms coming through the area, but it will be active.

Eisentrout said there will be a chance of rain for the next few days, starting Monday night. Temperatures will continue to be above normal, he said.

“For this time of year, it’s going to be warm and wet,” he said.

Recovery begins after storms kill 11 in Midwest, South

Icy roads, deadly tornadoes, punishing waves — severe weekend weather has been blamed for 11 deaths and major damage in parts of the Midwest, South and Northeast.

Tens of thousands remained without electrical power Sunday as a result of the storms a day earlier. Officials in far-flung locations were assessing the damages while utility crews worked to restore power.

The storms toppled trees, ripped off roofs and, in some areas, reduced buildings to rubble. The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado with winds of around 130 mph (210 kph) hit a high school in Kershaw County, South Carolina on Saturday, causing extensive damage.

The National Weather Service said it was a tornado packing winds of at least 134 mph (215 kph) that hit Alabama’s Pickens County on Saturday, killing three people.

“I could hear everything just coming apart,” Larry Jones, standing amid the rubble in Pickens County, said in a video posted by The Tuscaloosa News.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey praised the state’s first responders in a statement Sunday expressing grief over the deaths.