UPDATED: Storm rips through Wilson County

Xavier Smith • Mar 1, 2017 at 8:52 AM

Storms and possible tornadoes ripped through Wilson County early Wednesday morning and left some without power, while several places suffered damage due to high winds. 

Watertown suffered the worst damage in Wilson County as emergency officials reported several damaged structures and a widespread power outage for about two hours.

National Weather Service meteorologist Justyn Jackson said crews planned to survey damage Thursday morning in Watertown to determine whether it was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds.

South Commerce Street received the heaviest damage, along with the 7000 block of Sparta Pike, as the areas received some straight line wind damage as a result of the storm. A large cedar tree settled in the roadway while several structures were destroyed or missing roofs.

Also, just off Neal Road, about 1,000 feet from the rear of Watertown High School, several trees were down, along with two buildings. It was undetermined what type of structures was destroyed. Also, the roof was nearly ripped from an outbuilding in the same area.

“A lot of our calls are coming from the Watertown area,” Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, who said there were no reported injuries.

The department also reported a house fire at 1800 Holmes Gap Road. 

Wilson County Schools officials said all three Watertown schools went into tornado protocol, but were able to return to class shortly after the storm passed. 

Chuck Whitlock, Wilson County Schools health and athletics director, sent notifications to parents and guardians about the situation around 8:15 a.m.

There were also reports of split trees at 7025 Sparta Pike and a fallen tree on unoccupied vehicles. 

Watertown Mayor Mike Jennings thanked emergency agencies across Wilson County for their assistance Wednesday.

“As we lay down to sleep tonight, we in and outside of Watertown have a lot to be thankful for,” Jennings said in a Facebook post. “We have seen the mighty power of Mother Nature and survived to tell about it. We have also seen the best brought out in our friends and neighbors who rally to help each other. Some have property damage, and no one woke this morning hoping that would happen, but property can be repaired. I saw people today, both in and out of government, willing to do what it takes to help their fellow man. We were lucky that this was not a tragedy, but an event. And when something like this happens, people respond positively. Our community is the best.

“A day that started out badly in Watertown ended well, and for that we can all be thankful. I hope you will offer your thanks when you say your prayers this evening.”

Mt. Juliet police reported minimal impact in the western portion of the county. The department said most calls were due to a downed tree on Curd Road, which was cleared, and a lightning strike to a home on the 3000 block of Kingston Circle, which did not cause a fire. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone around the Nashville area,” Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler said. 

As of 9:14 a.m., Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. officials reported outages in several Wilson County locations, primarily in Watertown. MTEMC communications coordinator Josh Clendenen said the outage was a Tennessee Valley Authority issue. Power was restored at about 10 a.m.

Clendenen said two TVA towers were blown down due to high winds, which knocked out power to 5,707 homes and businesses in Wilson County, primarily in the Watertown area. He said MTEMC crews were able to restore power to the area while TVA worked to repair its towers.

The last recorded tornado activity in Wilson County was when four EF-0 tornadoes touched down July 2, 2015.

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