This will be the last update briefing from NWS Morristown concerning Tropical Storm Irma.Winds will increase through the day. We have highlighted the winds with the Wind Advisory. Look for winds of 15-30 mph with gusts of 40-50 mph. Highest winds and gusts will occur in the higher elevations. Highest wind gusts will occur tonight. Trees and power lines will be most susceptible to the higher winds. Therefore, a few power outages could occur. Winds will begin to subside Tuesday afternoon.Rainfall does not look to be a problem. Around 2″ of rainfall is expected along and south of a Dayton, TN to Clay County NC line. Less rainfall is expected north of that line (generally north of I-40).All rivers in our forecast area will remain below action stage, including the highlighted rivers from past briefings (Nolichucky, Pigeon, and French Broad). The rainfall in NC is expected to be less than previously forecast.
The worst-case scenario for the drought mixed with wildfires has occurred, as 50+ MPH high winds in the mountains have fueled a wildfire near the Chimney Tops trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and spread into Gatlinburg ahead of a high-precip system.
Now, the rain may not even be enough to quell the fires that erupted Monday, forcing the entire city of Gatlinburg and parts of Pigeon Forge to evacuate. As of now, officially, 30+ buildings are engulfed, but social media images show much more damage is occurring.
The ominous sign of danger occurred this afternoon as dark skies obscured the Sun in an otherwise clear sky. As the prevailing winds carried the embers from the Chimney Tops along the forest downwind, officials began preparing and evacuating residents from some of the remote areas in the woods. However, the fire jumped the Newfound Gap Road and raged into the southern end of Gatlinburg, threatening the Park Vista Hotel. The winds continued to roar and spread the fire throughout the park, threatening areas such as Ober Gatlinburg and the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Power, telephone, and cell phone services are out in Gatlinburg.
With barely any rain falling in over a month, the ultra dry conditions fueled the wildfire and the wind spread the wildfire into Gatlinburg at sundown.
Emergency crews from around the region are responding to the wildfire with firefighting equipment, traffic and medical aid and shelter assistance.
As of now TEMA officials are requesting that evacuees not use their cell phones except in an emergency as the cellular networks are overburdened, due in part to several cellular towers offline.
It has been an extraordinary 10 days. As of now, 14 deaths have been reported, over 17,000 acres have burned, and 2 juveniles have been arrested in connection with the Chimney Tops 2 Fire that spread into Gatlinburg on November 28.
Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been closed since the wildfire, and opening on a day-to-day basis for residents and business owners to assess damages to their structures and homes.
Severe thunderstorms that moved through East Tennessee Friday evening caused damage to several buildings in Seymour.
Photos submitted to WATE 6 On Your Side by viewer Matt Kiser showed damage at a Dollar General building on Chapman Highway. Photos showed damage to the roof and debris from other nearby buildings. A stained glass window blew out at nearby Seymour First Baptist Church and numerous broken and fallen trees were reported.
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