Tellico Plains receives its first tornado sirens

Tellico Plains receives its first tornado sirens

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By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) -  It has been less than a year since one East Tennessee community saw the destruction of a tornado first hand.  

An EF-2 tornado, with winds faster than 111 MPH, ripped through Tellico Plains in March of 2012.

After residents lost power, many did not know a tornado was approaching until the damage had been done. Now the county has a better way to alert those in harm's way.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommended the town look into getting an alert system.

"Last time it come through town here, I just pulled in and they hollered at me and said get down in the basement we're having a tornado coming through, and then in 2 minutes it came through. So, if we had sirens, more people would probably know about it," said Frank Myers, a Tellico Plains resident.  

Residents of Tellico Plains hope they will never be caught off guard again.

The city now has possession of three tornado sirens, obtained with help of Mike Atkins. Atkins, who is with Fort Loudon Electric Cooperative, has worked to help the city obtain three tornado donated sirens from Tennessee Valley Authority.

After last years tornado, Tellico Plains Mayor Patrick Hawkins approached Atkins about the possibility of obtaining sirens from the TVA.  

"The sirens are 25 years old; TVA is in the process of replacing all their warning sirens around the region at nuclear power plants. They just got new ones," Atkins said.  

Tellico Plains will not be the only city to benefit from the donated sirens. There are plans in the works for three sirens to be in every municipality in the Monroe County: Madisonville, Sweetwater, and Vonore.  

It is part of year-long joint project between TVA and Monroe County which will allow a total of 12 sirens in county.

The sirens, valued at $5,000 each, are the town's financial responsibility.

Tellico Plains will install it's sirens first, which Mayor Hawkins says he hopes will happen in the next few months.

"They were the ones who asked first, so they delivered it there just as quick as they called," Atkins said.

It is estimated each siren will have a range of around a mile, Atkins has recommended they be installed next to each of the city's three water towers.

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