Tornadoes touchdown in Antioch, Lebanon - WKRN News 2

Tornadoes touchdown in Antioch, Lebanon

Posted: Updated: Feb 25, 2011 10:05 PM CST
Southwinds Drive, Wilson County Southwinds Drive, Wilson County
Lanawood Court near Smith Springs Road and Anderson Road, Antioch Lanawood Court near Smith Springs Road and Anderson Road, Antioch
Lanawood Court, Antioch Lanawood Court, Antioch
Lischey Street, east Nashville Lischey Street, east Nashville
Priest Lake Presbyterian Church, Antioch Priest Lake Presbyterian Church, Antioch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cleanup is underway across the Mid-State Friday after a severe line of storms spawning at least two tornadoes marched across the region Thursday night.

Torrential rain and strong winds downed trees and power lines, leaving thousands without power.

Friday morning, the National Weather Service in Nashville confirmed that a tornado touched down along Smith Springs Road in the Priest Lake area of Antioch and later said a tornado also hit Lebanon.

Its likely damage in both areas was caused by the same storm.

Meteorologists were still in both locations Friday afternoon, trying to determine the tornado's wind speed and exact path.

In the Priest Lake area, the tornado heavily damaged two churches along Smith Springs Road.

The Smith Springs Church of Christ and Priest Lake Presbyterian Church are located right next to each other.

Members of both congregations gathered overnight to assess the damages.

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Nearby Lanawood Court was also hard hit.

A tree toppled over onto home, crushing its roof.  Next door, winds ripped off part of a home's roof and a tree lay strewn in the front yard.

Part of the roof of another house was torn off, leaving an upstairs bedroom and bed inside visible from the road.

Numerous trees and limbs were also down across area streets.

Crews were busy working with chainsaws Friday to clear the debris as residents surveyed the damage.

"I just remember a lot of noise and the rafters breaking," homeowner June Richmond recalled.  "That's when we rushed to the bathroom."

Richmond and her husband Winston, who are both in their 80s, were watching the news when the weather took aim at their home near Percy Priest Lake.

"I didn't hear the roar that so many people say they hear," June Richmond said, adding,  "I just heard so much cracking of rafters and everything.  It was a terrible noise."

The elderly couple sought shelter in a hall bathroom seconds before their roof collapsed.

It's a good thing because the roof collapsed onto their bedroom, where they could have been sleeping.

Candace Burris and her husband's home of 41 years also received major damage as a tree split their home in half. The couple huddled in a closet during the storm.

"When it hit and we came out later, we did not see the tree from the front of the house, we knew there was a tree in there [because] from the inside door we just saw branches," Burris said.

Burris said that she hopes to salvage what she can of her home and she and her husband plan to rebuild.

Parts of Lakewood in northeast Davidson County also suffered damage.

Several streets in Lakewood were covered in debris and tree limbs late Thursday night and Friday.

The corner of Pitts Avenue and Legion Drive off Old Hickory Boulevard was hit hard.

There, a tree crashed into a family's bathroom, splitting the home in half.  The homeowner told Nashville's News 2 he and his wife were on one side of the home and their 12-year-old son on the other.

No one was injured.

In east Nashville, part of the roof of Stratford High School was torn off during the storm.

Students were able to attend classes on Friday despite half of the building being without power.

School workers told Nashville's News 2 some classes were held in the cafeteria due to the power outage.

Officials said the school will be open on Monday.

Areas along Cleveland and Lischey streets were also hard hit.

Isaac Rivers Jr. and his wife had to take cover in the middle of the east Nashville home on Thursday night.

"I knew it was bad when I heard the noise. …I was blessed none of my major stuff was damaged," Rivers said.

In Madison, in northern Davidson County, a carport off Townley Court was destroyed after a tree fell onto its roof.  Two cars underneath were also destroyed.

On Friday, many neighbors in Antioch began helping each other with repairs from the overnight storms.

Councilwoman Vivan Wilhoite began contacting neighborhood watch groups and neighborhood leaders early Friday morning.

Wilhoite told Nashville's News 2 she knows it is physically impossible to help so many people, but her goal is to listen to everyone's stories and make sure the neighbors feel safe leaving their damaged homes behind to stay in temporary shelters.

The cleanup across the region is expected to continue into the weekend.

In the immediate Mid-State area, no one was seriously injured in Thursday's storms.

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