EF-3 tornado tears through Chattanooga area

A storm system that moved through the Southeast left parts of the Tennessee Valley in ruins.

According to the National Weather Service, an E-3 tornado slammed into the East Brainerd area of Chattanooga and then moved through Ooltewah and Collegedale.

Candy Edmond, of Ooltewah, was at home with her husband when the storm hit.

“I looked out the window and I could just see lightning," Edmond said.

She said the winds picked up as the tornado was approaching.

“Something hit the house,” Edmond said.

She said high winds caused a large tree to fall on the house. Fortunately, Edmond and her husband were OK.

RELATED | Storms tear through South amid pandemic; more than 30 dead

In Chattanooga, former television news reporter turned attorney Nancy Cogar was also fortunate. A massive tree came within feet of landing on her home.

“If you look at the pathway of the storm, we are right there at the point, right before the damage started moving through," Cogar said.

According to the NWS, the EF-3 tornado, which was 1,500-yards wide, traveled for 9 miles. By the time it was over, at least 150 homes and businesses were damaged. By 3 a.m. Monday, 911 dispatch had received more than 1,300 emergency calls from people who said they were trapped under their collapsed homes. Hamilton County Emergency Management officials told News4Jax the tornado killed two people and sent 17 others to the emergency room.

Red Cross is now paying for 140 people to stay in hotel rooms because Hamilton County is not allowed to set up shelters due to the coronavirus

“We will get through this crisis. We have been unified. We’ve seen so much love and attention. We’ve seen care and concern. And that will continue. Not only now, but in the days to come," said U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischman, R-Tennessee.

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