The confirmed twisters from earlier in the day were rated as EF-2 and EF-1.
Confirmed reports, as of Friday morning, also indicate 85 homes destroyed in Bradley County. Some 185 suffered major damage and another 300 had minor damage, according to information from the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency.
The numbers could still rise.
Late this morning, emergency agencies confirmed the names of eight people who died and one person who still has not been identified, have now been released. They include:
- Kandice Satterfield, of Blue Springs Lane.
- Evelyn Johnson, Leadmine and Kelly.
- Robert King, 77, Old Alabama Road.
- Lisa Pack, in the area of Leadmine Valley Road.
- Tami Glasgow, Hall Norwood and Blue Springs Road. (Not a Cleveland resident; a Michigan resident who was visiting her son).
- Chase Glasgow, 3 months old, Hall Norwood and Blue Springs Road.
- Rhonda Smith, of Gentry Lane.
- Tommy Evans, Old Powerline Road.
- Eva Catlett, Blue Springs Road.
Area fatalities were concentrated in the Blue Springs community. Additional deaths could be attributed to Wednesday’s devastating storms.
During a visit to Cleveland Thursday night, Warning Coordinator Meteorologist Tim Troutman of the National Weather Service, accompanied by meteorologist Eric Holweg, surveyed the area with Tennessee Highway Patrolman Larry Fowler.
Although unsure of exactly how many tornadoes plowed through Bradley County, Troutman said some of the storms produced 170 mph winds. According to reports, it is believed from five to seven twisters struck in five separate waves. Some are thought to have possibly spun off into two funnel clouds at times.
Troutman said the Wednesday night tornado(es) originated in the Ringgold, Ga., area and tracked through Hamilton and into Bradley County on the extreme southwest end through the Leadmine and Blue Springs Valley, continuing through the Spring Place, Oak Grove, Benton Pike communities and into extreme northeast Bradley County before dissipating in Polk County. During an aerial inspection Thursday, Cleveland Daily Banner reporters noted the trail of destruction until it began to taper off past Chatata Valley near Polk County.
Troutman said these storms were devastating and Bradley County was fortunate in reporting just nine fatalities. The casualty list could have been much longer, he said.
“We (NWS) gave a 26-minute lead time. This gave folks, through Facebook, Twitter, television and radio media and EMA time to get safe,” Troutman explained. “They got the message out of the destructive and deadly approach of these killer tornadoes.”
Strike teams from Bradley County Fire Rescue went home-to-home and rescued those entrapped. Chief Dewey Woody said today that search and rescue has been completed, with rescuers doubling back in heavier hit areas.
Officials are also driving or walking every road and checking homes, and all responders are now in recovery mode, according to Woody’s report.
According to information from an update with the team of Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, 85 percent of damage assessment has been made and officials will work through the weekend.
They also hope to get a presidential disaster declaration resulting in federal aid.
Officials are confident these numbers will grow as well.
A number of areas continue to be without electricity.
Officials urge all residents to turn off breaker boxes to avoid a power surge when electricity is restored. Fire concerns could also be an issue when power is restored. Damaged lines may not be noticed and could spark fires when electricity comes back.
It also could be several weeks before the entangled mess of power lines can be repaired and power restored to the hardest-hit areas.
The Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross continues to shelter a number of storm victims.
Officials also urge sightseers to stay out of damaged areas.