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County dodges brunt of storms

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By Cindy Simpson

Heavy rains drenched much of East Tennessee and left many communities picking up the pieces from heavy winds and tornadoes earlier in the week.

Roane County got the storms and wind, but luckily there were no reports of injuries or home damage.

“We had five calls for service yesterday afternoon with trees down and some spotty power outages,” said Roane County Emergency Management Director Howie Rose on Wednesday. “They were pretty dispersed throughout the county.”

Tornado warnings were in effect Tuesday for a number of East Tennessee counties, including Roane.

At least two funnel clouds were reported in Roane County. The National Weather Service’s website shows one in the Oak Ridge area of the county.

“We were aware there was a sighting in the Eagle Furnace area,” said Director of Schools Toni McGriff. “So all Rockwood schools were in the safe position doing a drill.”

McGriff said school officials used the rough weather as an opportunity to conduct tornado drills in every school, but Rockwood schools in particular were a concern.

Oliver Springs schools were quickly notified and put on drills as well when school personnel were alerted to potential bad weather in that part of the county, the school director added.

School personnel and EMA worked  in tandem throughout the afternoon, with EMA giving the “all clear” toward the end of the school day.

“We were concerned we might have to delay buses if in fact there was anything on the ground in the Rockwood area,” McGriff said.

The bad weather was a great chance to get the students to take the drills more seriously, she added.

“They have to do these drills anyway. If you have a weather situation kind of iffy, it takes on a sense of more importance,” McGriff explained.

School personnel reported things went well, she said.