KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The storm and tornado that hit West Knox County on Aug. 7 were among the most impactful weather events for the Knoxville Utilities Board and its customers, according to new details shared in the utility company’s monthly board meeting.
The August 7 tornado was called an “extremely rare August EF-2 Tornado in western Knox County” by the National Weather Service in its event summary report. It had a 3.8-mile-long path and reach peak wind speeds of 130 mph, but luckily, no injuries or deaths were reported.
KUB’s board met Thursday afternoon, where Senior Vice President of Engineering and Construction John Williams broke down precisely how much damage was caused and how customers were affected.
In total, Williams said there were 81 broken poles and 66 transformers damaged. At the peak of customer outages, approximately 57,000 customers were out of power at one time, and 74,615 experienced an outage as crews worked on repairs.
Eighty-three percent of the outages were caused by trees, and a majority of those were caused by trees outside of KUB’s trim zone, Williams said. Another 10% of the damages were caused by lightning.
Williams explained that more than 625 personnel were on the ground and made 1,905 repair jobs in the 78 hours after the tornado struck. A hundred crews worked continuously to restore service, and the more than 300 KUB employees involved in the repairs worked a combined total of more than 12,000 hours. More than 325 contractors and off-system workers also helped with the repairs.
From the standpoint of the estimated cost of damage, the August 7 storm caused the second-highest estimated cost of repairs in KUB’s history at more than $3.7 million.
That number is only topped by the June 2011 storms which included storms on two separate days. The 3.25 days that it took for restoration was less than half of the restoration times of the June 2011 storms, the April 2011 hail storm and the Blizzard of 1993.
Regarding customer outages, Williams said the storm was the third most impactful storm for customers, just behind the April 2011 hail storm.