Storms Slam Flat Rock; Other Parts of Tennessee Valley


An 18-wheeler flipped on its side by severe winds off Highway 71 in Flat Rock by strong winds.

UPDATE: The National Weather Service in Huntsville confirmed an EF-1 tornado struck the Flat Rock area Saturday morning.

They say the tornado had winds of 90 m.p.h. and was on the ground between 1:28-1:33 a.m. central time Saturday.


FLAT ROCK, Ala. (WDEF)- Much of the Tennessee Valley experienced severe weather early Saturday morning.

One of the hardest hit areas was the Flat Rock community in Jackson County, Alabama on Sand Mountain.

Mary Pearson, a witness to the storm, said, “It was a lot of noise, a lot of wind, it was very scary. We heard the trees cracking, trees falling.”

The National Weather Service in Huntsville placed portions of Jackson and DeKalb Counties in Alabama around Flat Rock and northern Sand Mountain under a tornado warning at 1:29 a.m. central.

This was a part of a squall line with multiple tornado warnings in Northeastern Alabama.

The general damage path runs in areas north of central Flat Rock from County Road 81 to State Highways 117 and 73.

Along County Road 81, the Lambert family lost two chicken houses.

Their metal sidings were completely ripped apart by the winds and strewn both on the property and beyond.

John Luke Lambert who lives on the property said, “Stuff was flying through the air and pretty close to the houses so we’re glad we didn’t get any damage to the houses.”

The Lamberts say there were no chickens in those houses, and their cattle were uninjured by the storm.

Nearby on State Highway 117, the Pearsons lost many trees including one that fell on their boat.

The family’s shed even moved a few inches due to the storm, but remained intact.

Things could’ve easily been much worse for the family.

Pearson said, “We have a big oak tree which, it fell towards the woods thankfully because if it had fell the other way it would’ve been right on mine and my son’s room.”

Just north of Flat Rock on Highway 73. An 18-wheeler was completely flipped on its side.

An additional truck was flipped at this location as well.

The community of Flat Rock is no stranger to severe weather, as the community was struck by a devastating EF-4 tornado on April 27, 2011.

However, every time they face a challenge from Mother Nature, the community steps up to help each other.

Pearson said, “People are stopping by all day, asking and making sure that we’re okay, checking on us.”

Grant Smith, another witness of the storm said, “Whenever the chicken houses got blew down, everybody around us knew it before we did really. We talked to one person and everybody knew.”

Lambert said, “We’ve got a good community. Everybody joins together and helps us, we’re very thankful to have a good community like we do. Everybody joins together and helps out when a disaster like this happens.

The Tri-Community Fire Department said that there were no injuries due to the storm in Flat Rock, a fact everyone involved is grateful for.

Lambert said, “We thank the good Lord for it.”

The National Weather Service has yet to confirm if this was a tornado.

They have not announced when they plan to survey the area.

Elsewhere in Jackson County, there was more storm damage.

One such incident was in Scottsboro.

A tree fell on a home on the 3-hundred block of Sharon Street.

The homeowner, who didn’t want to be on camera, said the whole house was shaking when the storm came through around 1 a.m.

They said their roof and flooring have suffered damage as a result of the tree falling.

No one was hurt inside that house.

Jackson County EMA reported several other trees and power lines down in numerous communities across the county.

Back in Hamilton County, numerous trees and power lines fell across the Chattanooga area.

The Chattanooga Fire Department said they were working all morning to clear roads of debris.

News 12 saw several trees and power lines down in the Red Bank, including a pole on Berkeley Drive that snapped in half.

There were over 90 active calls at one point on the Hamilton County 9-1-1 website.

The National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 67 miles per hour at Lovell Field.

A News 12 viewer reported that their community on Dayton Mountain in Rhea County saw damage from the storms as well, including saying their barn had been heavily damaged.

This severe weather event was part of a larger tornado outbreak that has killed at least 26 people in Mississippi and Alabama.

Categories: Featured, Hamilton County, Jackson County, Local News, Rhea County