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Storm leaves thousands powerless
James Clark photo-Left, Captain Ds is angling for a new sign. Witnesses report seeing the sign fly away, a story that gets bigger every time its told.

A severe storm battered Warren County as it moved across Middle Tennessee on Tuesday night.
“The storm beat up Warren County pretty hard,” said Caney Fork Electric Cooperative general manager Bill Rogers. “We estimate, system-wide, that approximately 10,000 of our members were affected to some degree. I’m glad the storm didn’t last any longer than it did. It did a lot of damage in a very short amount of time.”
McMinnville Electric System reports 465 of its customers were without power.
“This was the worst storm damage to the electric system since I came to McMinnville in 2000,” said McMinnville Electric System general manager/ CEO Rodney Boyd. “We noted that the broken power lines seemed twisted like spaghetti and large, live trees were uprooted. Usually large, dead trees are uprooted.”
Trees weren’t the only reason for power outages. Rogers says substation breakers, broken poles, falling trees and flying debris created the outages.
“We had, at last count, 10 broken poles, many instances of trees that fell into the lines and some lines were taken out by flying debris,” said Rogers on Wednesday. “It was all hands on deck. We worked throughout the night and into this morning trying to get people’s power back on. By this morning, we had the majority back on. We had a few poles that were hard to get to. From a safety factor, we chose to wait until morning so those folks were without power the longest.”
Boyd said 88 percent of the 465 MES customers without power in the city had their power restored within an hour, 96 percent were back on within six hours, and 3 percent were without power through the night.
Both Rogers and Boyd expressed gratitude to all the people who kindly understood the storm was extensive and patiently waited for power to be restored to their homes.
Warren County Highway Department worked several hours Tuesday night to clear the roadways of trees and other debris and that work continued on Wednesday as reports of downed trees in the roadway continued to pour in.
“We worked until about 1 a.m. last night,” said Road Superintendent Levie Glenn. “We received over 40 calls of trees down and limbs in the roadway. We cleared as many as we could. When trees are on power lines, we don’t bother them for safety issues. We didn’t leave last night until all the roads that we could clear were open. Our guys were back in here at 6 a.m. I’m very proud of them.”
Glenn expressed gratitude for the assistance given by volunteer fire departments and volunteer citizens who helped county employees clear the streets.
McMinnville Public Works Department, as well as employees from other various departments, worked for hours Tuesday night to clear city streets and begin repair on intersection traffic lights. Work will continue for the city as it offers residents brush and limb pick, as well as junk or trash removal, to residents.
McMinnville landscape manager Hank Patton says the city’s crews are now working to remove debris.
“The city is a mess right now,” said Patton. “We’ve begun the process to clear everything away. It will take time to get to everyone, but we’ll get there. Please be patient.”
City residents are asked to adhere to the following guidelines when they move tree and trash debris to the side of the street for removal.
• Separate brush from junk or trash – piles of mixed brush, junk and trash will not be picked up.
• Place brush where it can be reached from the city street – material must be brought to curbside or street edge, but not placed in the road.
• Tree limbs must be cut into sections – pieces must be less than 8 feet in length and less than 12 inches in diameter.
Residents who have questions about brush removal are encouraged to call 473-2553.