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Tellico Plains Tornado
EF-2 tornado touched down in Tellico Plains
Tellico Plains Tornado

On Friday, March 2, around 2pm, an EF-2 tornado touched down in Tellico Plains, leaving a path of destruction 14 miles long through downtown and crossed Hwy 360 to Ballplay Road, and into the Citico Wilderness area. Property damage to residential and commercial buildings was extensive (30 buildings), with some personal injuries but, miraculously, no fatalities.

NOTE: With the exception of the KOA, all businesses (lodging, restaurants, the bakery, shops, etc.) in Tellico Plains are open! The tornado spared the downtown business area of Tellico Plains.

Many have suffered damage or loss of their homes, vehicles, and other personal belongings. One of the TDS buildings and the police department annex were destroyed. The cabins, main lodge and pavilion at the KOA Campground were leveled. Downed, broken, and uprooted trees cover hillsides and roadsides in the tornado's path.

Relief efforts began immediately, with city/county/state law enforcement, volunteer firefighters and rescue squads, disaster relief workers, the Red Cross, and many others. Residents of Tellico Plains and surrounding communities came forth in numbers to help, in whatever means possible. All day Saturday, the sounds of chain saws, heavy equipment, and dump trucks filled the air, as clean-up crews worked all over town. Damaged roofs were covered with tarps to prevent more damage, huge trees were cut away from buildings, power crews replaced fallen poles and repaired damaged lines, and high school students and other folks picked up pieces of debris, large and small, which littered the town. Fluorescent "X" marks were spray painted on the exterior of buildings which were totaled.

relief center was set up at Tellico Plains High School, serving food and beverages to displaced residents and relief workers
Pictured above, relief center volunteers at the Tellico Plains High School cafeteria feeding tornado victims and relief workers and volunteers
A relief center was set up at Tellico Plains High School, serving food and beverages to displaced residents and relief workers all day. Many area businesses donated to the efforts too - Tellico Kats delivered dozens of sandwiches to the High School Relief Center, Tellico Grains Bakery provided sweets and other baked goods to those working at clean-up and directing traffic and to the High School Relief Center. Area churches coordinated to deliver additional meals to the Relief Center. Local banks are taking donations for aid to victims of the tornado. See the separate post about the FEMA center set up at New Providence Baptist Church for donations for those in need.

Thank you to all who have volunteered their labor so far, and those who help with all that will need to be done in the future.

Tornado forming prior to crossing Hwy 68
Above: tornado forming prior to crossing Hwy 68 (Tellico Plains High School to the right)

Above: Slideshow of 40 photos taken by Judy Lavoie 18 hours after the tornado hit Tellico Plains

Above: Cody Chittum's video of the tornado hitting Tellico Plains

Above: Chris Arp's video the day after the tornado

Disaster Relief Center for Tornado Victims

A disaster relief center (official FEMA Drop-off) was established at the New Providence Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship Building of 451 New Providence Rd, Tellico Plains.

Volunteers collected clothing, cleaning supplies, school supplies, toiletries, non-perishable food, tarps, totes for victims, garbage bags, towels and washcloths, kitchen towels, baby supplies, clothing, footwear, kitchen supplies, household goods, small appliances, and many other items needed by the victims of this tornado.

Financial donations for victims were accepted at Volunteer Federal Savings & Loan in a special account established for the victims.

Disaster Relief Center Donations for Tornado Victims
Official FEMA Drop-Off for Tellico Plains tornado disaster

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