Statewide Severe Weather & Sevier County WildfireTEMA FLASH REPORT #1
- Severe weather poses statewide threat of strong straight-line winds, severe thunderstorms, and tornadic activity.
- Local, state, and federal firefighting assets and personnel deployed to a Sevier County wildfire that’s consumed more than 1,000 acres and resulted in the evacuation of more than 500 people.
- The State Emergency Operations Center is operational in Nashville, and a State of Emergency is in place, with state personnel monitoring and responding to local resource requests from these dual threats.
Tennessee is currently experiencing a statewide severe weather threat that is: 1) causing tornado watches and warnings to be issued in the western part of the state; 2) making possible another round of severe weather impacts in the middle region; and, 3) contributing to the creation and spread of wildfires in the east.
The State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville is activated to a Level 3 – State of Emergency status and staffed with Emergency Service Coordinators representing many State of TN agencies and departments, and non-governmental organizations.
TEMA has activated its four, regional coordination centers to assist local officials with resource requests and any other needs where they need support with the severe weather or wildfires response.
SEVIER COUNTY WILDFIRE
- Local, state, and federal firefighting personnel and assets are responding to a wildfire in Sevier County’s Wears Valley community, in the area of Hatcher Mountain Road, Indigo Lane, and Lost Branch Road.
- Sevier County issued mandatory evacuation orders for this area this afternoon and, so far, reports approximately 500 people have evacuated.
- A shelter for evacuees is in place at the Pigeon Forge Community Center, 170 Community Center Drive, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
- Representatives with Sevier County government, local fire departments, the Tennessee Division of Forestry, Tennessee Highway Patrol, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service are supporting the response directly in Sevier County from incident command.
- The TN Mutual Aid Network has also coordinated the deployment of fire assets to support the response in Sevier County to include brush trucks, fire tenders, and strike teams. Also, strike teams with the Tennessee Highway Patrol are assisting with assisting with the evacuation of residents.
- The Tennessee National Guard has Blackhawk helicopters outfitted with Bambi buckets on standby to assist and is readying other aerial firefighting assets for deployment. The U.S. Forestry Service also has two helicopters at the scene to assist with aerial firefighting operations. However, current wind conditions have made it too hazardous to fly.
- Local officials estimate 1,000 acres have been impacted by the Sevier County wildfire with approximately 35 structures damaged.
- The Tennessee Dept. of Health has confirmed one injury from the wildfire in Sevier County.
- Additionally, fire crews in Fentress County have contained three, separate woodland fires, and Anderson County fire officials reported containing a 30-acre brush fire.
TENNESSEE SEVERE WEATHER
- Tornado Watches in place for West Tennessee until 8 p.m., Central, and for Nashville until 1 a.m., Central, with straight-line winds forecast for Middle Tennessee between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- The storm front will reach East Tennessee around midnight with the most significant threat being wind gusts reaching 80 mph to 100 mph escalating an already dangerous fire situation.
- Madison County emergency officials are reporting multiple structures damaged from the severe weather with impacts to the Sheriff’s Office, a 9-1-1 service outage, and damage to the Forest Cover Nursing Home.
- Other Tennessee counties reporting storm impacts, to included downed trees, damaged structures, and flooded roads, include Chester, Crockett, Hardeman, Lauderdale, Montgomery, and Stewart.
- The National Weather Service reports an outage for its NOAA Weather Radio service for Davidson County. Davidson County residents should have other means to receive local weather watches and warnings, such as monitoring TV and radio broadcasts and downloading weather apps to their mobile devices, making sure they have their devices’ set to receive notifications.
- Power outages statewide, as of 7 p.m., Central, are 18,200 statewide, with 500 in Davidson County; 1,800 in Fayette; 1,800 in Henry; 2,700 in Knox; 1,300 in Lawrence; 1,900 in Madison; 1,000 in Maury; 600 in Sevier; and, 4,600 in Shelby.
- Maury County sheltering overnight Mule Day participants at its local high school.
- Monitor local news sources for updates on weather forecasts, and for any weather watches or warnings issued for your area.
- Have multiple options to receive weather information and emergency instructions.
- Follow the instructions of emergency officials and be ready to take cover in a severe weather situation, and to evacuate if mandated.
- Do not drive or walk through any high water – Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Do not attempt to move any downed power lines. Instead contact your local power company to report the damage or call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency situation.
- Memphis: Severe thunderstorms through this evening with a low of 45.
- Nashville: Severe thunderstorms, straight-line winds and a low of 54.
- Knoxville: Some rain and thunderstorms with a low of 59.
- Chattanooga: Heavy rain and late thunderstorms with a low of 60.