The sounds of chain saws were common throughout Scott County Wednesday morning, as residents cleaned up downed limbs and fallen trees in the aftermath of Tuesday evening's powerful thunderstorm that caused widespread — but only minor — damage.
Crews from Plateau Electric Cooperative were busy well into the night Tuesday, restoring power to various neighborhoods throughout Scott County. Among the areas without power were Huntsville, Robbins, Winfield and the Station Camp neighborhood west of Oneida.
The Station Camp community was hit particularly hard as the storm rolled through, with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph. Rae Laxton, manager of Wilderness Resorts near the entrance of the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, posted photos on Facebook of large trees that had fallen inside the resort. No cabins were damaged, she said.
Just a few miles away, as the crow flies, Scott County Rescue Squad was dispatched to a residence on Big Ridge Road in West Oneida by E-911 dispatchers. There, a tree had fallen onto a home, causing substantial damage to the home itself. Reportedly, the only person at home at the time was David Brewster. No one was injured.
A tree was also reported to have fallen on a vehicle.
In Huntsville, the lights went off in most of town. Resident Danny Phillips said he heard a transformer blow near Tennier Industries as the storm rolled through.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., had issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the entire region in advance of the line of storms. As the storms crossed the Cumberland Plateau, the National Weather Service's Morristown office issued a blanket severe thunderstorm warning. The severe thunderstorm warning in Scott County came shortly after 5 p.m., with the NWS warning of heavy rain, dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning and damaging winds.
Still, radar returns showed the most impressive storm centered around Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs. There, numerous power outages occurred as the storms rolled through. Hundreds were still without power Wednesday morning.
Locally, PEC crews restored power to all residents by Tuesday night. However, a few residents in McCreary County, Ky., remained without power Wednesday morning.
The Sheriff's Department reported no injuries as a result of the storm.
The storm followed a prolonged period of dry weather on the northern Cumberland Plateau, drawing concerns from gardeners and farmers. The streamflow along the Clear Fork River near Robbins had dropped to under 30 cubic feet per second — something that occurs less than 25 percent of the time in mid June, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quick-hitting storm only slightly raised the streamflow, however; Clear Fork was flowing at 33 cfs Wednesday morning. At Leatherwood Ford, the Big South Fork River was flowing at 171 cfs and still climbing — though still well below normal — at lunch time Wednesday.
The U.S. Drought Monitor — a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Weather Service and other agencies — classified Scott County and the rest of the northern Cumberland Plateau region last week as being in the first stage of drought.