Homeowners in Tellico Plains remember damaging tornado two years

Homeowners in Tellico Plains remember damaging tornado two years later

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Trees still splintered and scattered along a mountainside, it's a view from Russ Parks' backyard. Trees still splintered and scattered along a mountainside, it's a view from Russ Parks' backyard.
The tornado ripped along a 14-mile stretch in Tellico Plains. The tornado ripped along a 14-mile stretch in Tellico Plains.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) - Two years ago Sunday, people in Tellico Plains weren't worried about snow or ice, but dealing with a tornado. It left a 14-mile long path of damage and two years later we caught up with homeowners who say March 2nd is a day they'll never forget.

Trees still splintered and scattered along a mountainside, it's a view from Russ Parks' backyard.

"It's devastating sometimes to see things from my childhood memories that are gone," he said.

Gone, thanks to a 120-mile per hour tornado, marked by the National Weather Service, which flattened homes, uprooted trees, and knocked down power lines in Tellico Plains on March 2nd, 2012.

"We were extremely blessed, one that we weren't home and two that we still had a place to call home," said Parks.

It's a day hard for anyone to forget.

"I walked out the back door and looked up, all the trees were laying over and I didn't make it back in. Needless to say me and the house wound up in the hollow on the other side," said tornado victim Daniel Kapp. "I had a lot of memories there." 

Kapp was able to walk away with just a few scrapes and bruises, though 60 homes just like his were damaged that day.

While Kapp now has a place to call home, there's one memory he's holding onto.

"The people of Tellico Plains really came through. I couldn't believe how they went out of their way. If it weren't for the people of Tellico I wouldn't be sitting up here right now. They helped me get into this place," added Kapp.

And it's that memory everyone says will last a lifetime.

"Coming through the tornado it shows you really how strong of a community we live in," said Parks.

Nearly 4,000 people lost power when the tornado hit March 2nd, 2012. Early warnings are key to staying safe and the county has made improvements since then, TVA has donated sirens to three cities in Monroe County: Madisonville, Vonroe, and Tellico Plains.

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