EAST TENNESSEE (WATE) – Tornado warnings blasted on cell phones and radios just after 5 p.m. Thursday as dark clouds, strong winds and rain quickly blew through parts of East Tennessee.
Residents in north Knox County reported that several trees and power lines were knocked down due to the storm.
Teresa Kneier, a resident on Villa Drive, was inside her home with her mother when she got the tornado warning on her phone.
She didn’t have much time to react before it reached her yard.
“As soon as that went off, that’s when the wind, like I said, made that huge noise up front on that room,” Kneier said.
She heard loud rumbles, fast wind and heavy rain slam onto her home, then the crackling of branches as they fell to the ground.
Kneier said she and her mother were lucky. The tree didn’t hit their home, but got shockingly close.
A block away from her home, another large tree fell and blocked off Shannondale Road.
No vehicles or homes were reportedly hit when it fell, but several drivers were rerouted.
Ten minutes down the road, Gary Peterman and his wife rushed to their house earlier than planned once they heard the warning.
Peterman said that when they first got home, they didn’t see too much damage. He saw some larger puddles of water and smaller trees and branches down before they checked behind the house.
“We saw a small tree in our front yard that had been uprooted, and we thought ‘boy, did we get off lucky.’ Until we came home and saw this,” Peterman said as he pointed to the large tree laying across his backyard.
He said the tree was probably about 150 to 200 years old.
He believed that tree falling down caused two other trees to timber.
Luckily, none of them hit their home, but they did knock down some power lines.
Peterman and his wife walked around the live wires while waiting for utility crews to turn the power off.
One of the trees fell on top of Peterman’s tree house, but it barely caused any damage.