Halloween storms hit area

Published 1:08 pm Friday, November 1, 2019

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The National Weather Service had predicted a strong weather front to move in on Oct. 31. True to their word, the weather front moved into Claiborne County around noon and there was a severe storm warning that quickly turned into tornado warnings. Witnesses stated seeing rotation and funnel clouds, and the NWS confirmed Friday that a small tornado did indeed touch down.

Several businesses were hit and damaged including Noah’s Wholesale, Duncan Motor Company, Minton Family Dental Care, Judy’s Florist, Legacy Printing & Antiques and Robbie’s Auto Sales. Trees were also down across one of the drives to Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There were damaged homes and downed powerlines around the Cedar Fork area including Whitaker Street, Ball Street and Chestnut Street at R.O. Giles Field. A few barns in the area were damaged or destroyed as well.

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C.B. Duncan, owner of Duncan Motor Company, was reading when the storm rolled through. “I was sitting in my office when the storm hit. I looked out the window and saw leaves spinning around. I heard a loud noise that I thought was a transformer blowing and went back to reading. A few moments later a customer came in and asked me if I was safe. I told him yes, why? He told me the store roof was on top of my neighbors building. It could have been worse.”

Claiborne County Mayor Joe Brooks had been out surveying the damages around the county. After everything was stabilized and the emergency service crews had left the different areas, Brooks made a statement to the local media and Knoxville area television stations.

Brooks said, “It could have been so much worse, and we are thankful that no one was hurt.”

The storms hit quickly and moved away just as quickly with tornado warnings issued to the northeast around Rose Hill, Va.

For the most part, Claiborne County was spared major damage from a weather system that could have been much, much worse. There were no injuries reported.