A tornado hit the Hillsboro area of Coffee County, according to Allen Lendley, director of Coffee County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and National Weather Service officials.

NWS officials rated the storm an EF-2. This rating can have wind speeds reach 111-135 mph range, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS officials inspected the area near the Coffee/Grundy County line on Wednesday. Nov. 7. The brunt of the storm in Coffee County hit the Rutledge Hills/Betsy Willis Road area.

Severe storms have swept across the state Tuesday morning and have killed a person and injured at least two others, knocking down trees and leaving thousands without power, according to officials.

No injuries have been reported in Coffee County.

 “The tornado came through Franklin County, at the southern edge of Coffee County and onto Grundy County,” Lendley said.

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Crews work to restore power and clear debris in Hillsboro following the storm. 

The tornado hit the area after midnight.

“There was a (touchdown) about 1:30 this morning, south of Hillsboro, almost to the Grundy County Line,” Lendley said.

The weather service is still assessing the damage.

“Because we had a lot of tornadoes in Middle Tennessee last night, the weather service is not going to get to us until tomorrow (Wednesday). They are now working the northern end of the state.”

 

Damage in the area

As of Tuesday morning, EMA officials were at the initial phases of evaluating the harm. 

“There are several houses south of Hillsboro that have been damaged,” Lendley said. “But we just now started our damage assessment.”

The number of impacted structures in the areas is not clear. More details about the damage throughout the state and in the county will be available on Wednesday.

Several houses and barns have been damaged in the area.

“We have seen a couple of barns that have been destroyed,” Lendley said. “We have seen quite a few houses with torn roofs, where the (winds) have blown the tin off the roof, the shingles off the roof.”

There is a lot of debris in the fields, he added.

“We just started our damage assessment off of Rutledge Hill Road, and we are working our way around through the county roads in this area,” he said.

The entire EMA staff has been involved in the process.

“There are three of us doing damage assessment,” Lendley said.

In addition to Lendley, Deputy Director Matt Aussiker and Operations Officer Brandon Gunn have been on duty since Monday night.

While the tornado has wreaked havoc in Coffee County, Lendley expressed relief and said the situation could have been worse.

“We fared better than Franklin County,” he said. “Franklin County got hit a lot worse than we did.”

It’s not clear yet if the Tornado sweeping across Franklin County was the same tornado.

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This tree was no spared from the storm. 

“Right now, we are not sure if it was the same tornado,” he said. “But it appears it was the same tornado. It was probably a little bit stronger when it was at Franklin County. But we won’t know the track or the strength until (Wednesday).

TUA providing support

According to Tullahoma Utilities Authority’s Facebook page, the authority has dispatched five line workers “with two bucket trucks and two digger derrick trucks” to help Duck River Electric Membership Corporation restore power to areas of rural Franklin County that were hit by the tornado.

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