Crews in Tellico Plains work to restore power and clear debris

Crews and volunteers in Tellico Plains work to restore power and clear debris

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) - The National Weather Service confirmed Friday's tornado in Tellico Plains was a an EF2 tornado that left a trail of destruction more than 14 miles long.

All Tellico Plains schools, including Rural Vale and Coker Creek will remain closed tomorrow because of the incredible amount of damage in the area. Other Monroe County schools will be open.

A mix of volunteers and professional crews worked non-stop throughout the weekend to restore power, communications and begin the massive clean up effort in Tellico Plains.

How to help tornado victims

The Red Cross is accepting donations

  • Make donations online
  • Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
  • Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
  • Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter
  • "We have more than 200 people in town and for a Monday that's incredible., Our resources in the city are limited so we really are at the mercy of the volunteers," said Mayor Patrick Hawkins.

    More than 60 homes were damaged by the tornado which left nearly 4,000 people without power, but Fort Loudon Electric says now that number is around 30.

    "Most of those are homes that are destroyed so they won't be able to get power anyway," explained Emergency Management Director Brian Turpin.

    The TDS Telecom warehouse and office building were destroyed in the storm impacting nearly 8,000 access lines.

    But after working for nearly 48 hours straight, the company says the majority of their customers' phone service is up and running.

    As for the roads, they are all clear except for small patches where crews are clearing debris.

    Steve Massengill of the Tennessee Wildlife Reserve is helping pick up the large pieces of debris. He asks people to please mind the road blocks as they will only be in place a couple of hours at most.

    "It's just an issue of safety while we clear the roads," explained Massengill.

    The entire community has been working tirelessly since the storm hit on Friday.

    "I've been out in the field, I've been communicating with everyone. I haven't gotten much sleep. Last night was good but that was the first time since the impact," explained Mayor Hawkins.

    FEMA will be out in the area Tuesday to survey and determine the exact extent of the damage.

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