Tornado Hits

On Friday, March 2, around 2pm, a tornado touched down in Tellico Plains, leaving a path of destruction through the city limits and up Hwy 360, Ballplay Road. Property damage to residential and commercial buildings is extensive, with some personal injuries but, miraculously, no fatalities. Many have suffered damage or loss of their homes, businesses, vehicles, and other personal belongings. One of the TDS buildings and the police department annex were destroyed. The cabins, main lodge and pavilion at the KOA Campground were leveled. Downed, broken, twisted, and uprooted trees cover hillsides and roadsides in the tornado's path.

Relief efforts began immediately, with city/county/state law enforcement, road crews, forestry personnel, volunteer firefighters and rescue squads, disaster relief workers, the Red Cross, and many others. Residents of Tellico Plains and surrounding communities came forth in numbers to help, in whatever means possible. All day Saturday, the sounds of chain saws, heavy equipment, and moving dump trucks filled the air, as clean-up crews worked all over town. Damaged roofs were covered with tarps to prevent more damage, huge trees were cut away from buildings, power crews replaced fallen poles and repaired damaged lines, and high school students and other folks picked up pieces of debris, large and small, which littered the town. Fluorescent "X" marks were spray painted on the exterior of buildings which were condemned due to the storm damage.

A relief center is set up at Tellico Plains High School, serving food and beverages to displaced residents and relief workers all day. Many area businesses have donated to the efforts too - Tellico Kats delivered dozens of sandwiches to the High School Relief Center, Tellico Grains Bakery provided sweets and other baked goods to those working at clean-up and directing traffic and to the High School Relief Center. Area churches coordinated to deliver additional meals to the Relief Center. Local banks are taking donations for aid to victims of the tornado. See the separate post about the FEMA center set up at New Providence Baptist Church for donations for those in need. The community has truly come together to help the victims of this devastation.

Thank you to all who have volunteered their labor so far, and those who will help with all that needs to be done in the coming days and weeks. Please keep us all in your prayers.

For more photos and information, see our website Tornado page.

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