Seven People Hurt When Tornado Hits Claiborne County

By: Allison Hunt, Weather Specialist
By: Allison Hunt, Weather Specialist

New Tazewell, Claiborne County (WVLT) - At least seven people are injured and several homes destroyed or damaged after strong storms blew through Claiborne County last night.

Authorities believe a tornado struck New Tazewell about eight o'clock.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt spent the evening in New Tazewell and has more details.

"We're all just really upset, we're devastated," said Sebrina Elliott, who has family living in the area damaged by the storm.

"You see the road and it disappears all of the sudden, it's like you just drove into a jungle, "said Randy Bullen, Emergency Management Director in Claiborne County.

Emergency Management says they had to clear a mile of trees blocking Barren Creek road after an apparent tornado ripped through New Tazewell.

Sebrina Elliott has family that lives down that road.

"If their trailer has flipped they probably lost everything they own," she said.

The tornado destroyed three to four mobile homes and two fixed homes and damaged several others in this farmland community.

"Just singles blown off houses, chimney's damaged, antennas, dishes all the way to structures literally being moved off their foundations," said Bullen.

At least seven people were hurt by debris and taken to local hospitals with injuries.

Officials tell us everyone has now been released from the hospital.

One man was trapped under debris from his collapsed barn for an hour before being rescued.

Three other people were hurt in car accidents related to the storm.

"Varying degrees of injuries, from just cuts and scrapes to abrasions all the way up to back and head injuries," said Bullen.

Downed power lines also make barren creek road dangerous, which will remain closed.

"Hopefully when daylight comes we'll be able to get a better understanding of what kind of damage we do have," said Bullen.

Officials say at one point, power was knocked out for about 20% of Claiborne County.

Powell Valley Electric says now, about 10-15 homes are still without power but it's expected to be restored later this morning.

Crews are working hard to get power restored.

There was a shelter set up for people who's homes were damaged.

Emergency Management opened up a shelter at the TNT School on Davis Drive.

They tell us two families stayed there overnight, many other families stayed with family and friends instead.

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