One death, injuries reported in fast-moving storm through Smokies
From Staff Reports
A storm sweeping through Blount County this evening caused injuries to a number of Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors, with a possible fatality that could not be immediately confirmed.
Campers were trapped in the Cades Cove Campground.
Townsend Police Chief Ronnie Suttles said the American Red Cross is setting up an emergency shelter in Townsend for people needing a place to spend the night at Townsend Church of God off Webb Road.
Kevin FitzGerald, deputy superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, described the situation caused by the fast-moving storm as “crazy.”
“There’s a lot of significant damage with trees down from east of the Y on Little River through Cades Cove over to Abrams Creek,” FitzGerald said.
“There are multiple emergencies. People are trapped between trees and in vehicles. We have crews coming in from North Carolina, cutting their way into the area.”
Rangers were telling campers in Cades Cove Campground to stay put.
“Laurel Creek Road has major, major trees down. Anybody camping with supplies needs to stay tight wait for crews to get to them,” FitzGerald said.
“Our major objective is to clear a path for emergency personnel get in.”
The storm also knocked out power in many other areas of Blount County, with trees falling on electric lines and blocking roadways.