Storm impacts Town

Storms that blew through East Tennessee Saturday, Dec. 11, were to blame for the loss of the newly-installed 45-foot tall Christmas tree in Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts between 60 and 70 miles per hour during the storm front, which was part of a series of deadly storms thanks to tornado touchdowns in seven states — including Tennessee.

“A staff member watched the tree fall at 10:14 a.m. Saturday morning in high winds,” Town Marketing & Public Relations coordinator Wendy Smith said. “The whole thing had to be cut up in order to get it down, so it won’t be back this year. It will be back next year — with guide wires.”

Reportedly, both the tree pole and its bottom base were destroyed, but the lights and garland were salvaged.

“The Public Works Department put in a lot of overtime on Saturday taking the tree down, fixing lights at Founders Park and getting fallen trees/limbs out of the road,” Smith added.

Additionally, the storms toppled a tree onto Dollar General Store, 12403 Kingston Pike, causing extensive roof damage according to store employees.

The storms also caused local and regional power outages, with some Farragut Lenior City Utilities Board customers losing power for nearly six hours Saturday.