Forecasters Confirm 3 Tornados Hit Mid-State - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Forecasters Confirm 3 Tornados Hit Mid-State

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Storms that rocked Tennessee produced at least three tornados that touched down in Dekalb, Smith Rutherford, Wilson, and White counties.

A storm assessment team from the National Weather Service office in Nashville confirmed on Thursday that an EF-1 tornado with maximum wind speeds of 100 miles per hour caused damage in Wilson, Smith and Dekalb Counties.

It started near Watertown in Wilson County and left behind a damage path that spread over 6 miles. Several homes suffered roof damage and some barns and outbuildings were destroyed.

The tornado clipped the southwestern tip of Smith County as it moved into Dekalb County. It moved across the north side of Alexandria, leaving behind several trees down and roof damage to homes.

The last evidence of damage was along Lower Helton Road two miles east of Alexandria.

The NWS confirmed another EF-0 tornado with maximum wind speeds of 80 miles per hour hit two miles west of Christiana in Rutherford County. Officials said damage occurred on Walnut Grove Road near Highway 231.

Some trees were uprooted and a couple of outbuildings were also damaged.

The National Weather Service also confirmed and EF-2 tornado with wind speeds up to 115 miles per hour touched down along a path of nine miles in White County.

They said the damage began near the intersection of Indian Mound Road and old Smithville Highway. Hundreds of trees were uprooted or snapped along the path. Three homes had their roofs ripped off, and a mobile home was destroyed. Around a dozen barns and outbuildings were destroyed.

Call it fate, call it destiny, call it divine intervention. Whatever it was, it put Benny and Geraldine Ancar in the right place at the right time.

"Last night my Mom decided to go to church with my Dad and that's where they were when all of this happened," their daughter, Donielle Ancar-Brinkley said.

The couple's mobile home in Sparta was blown off its foundation, and scattered across a nearby field.

On Thursday morning, the elderly couple rested at a nearby home while Ancar-Brinkley continued a tireless search of the wreckage. 

"There's a picture of my daughter when she was two that my father adores.  Hopefully we can find that one picture," Ancar-Brinkley said.

"This could have been a tragedy if anyone was here," National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Johnstone said.

Ancar-Brinkley's search for that picture continued into Thursday afternoon.

But she'd already found precious memories, and even evidence of God at work.

"I've been learning about Grace all my life but this is just another example of it ," Ancar Brinkley said.

The Red Cross had a strong presence in the area Thursday morning, but left after learning that most affected families were taken in by relatives and friends.

Forecasters from the Morristown NWS office were set to look at storm damage near Greenback in East Tennessee Thursday afternoon. 

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries from the storms. 

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    (The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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