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Severe weather rolls through area; death reported in Abingdon

June 19th, 2014 9:20 pm by Tony Casey

Severe weather rolls through area; death reported in Abingdon

Pea-sized hail, thunder, lightning and a whole lot of rain quickly came from the skies Thursday afternoon in the Johnson City area.

Sam Roberts, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, said a line of storms progressed eastward through the Tennessee Valley, with some of its most severe elements dumping on Johnson City.

“It was just one of those summertime storms,” Roberts said. “We only issued a handful of severe storm warnings and you got two of them, so you saw one of the stronger storms that hit the area.”

Passing just below Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Blountville, Roberts said over an inch of water fell. The water traveled through the downtown Johnson City area and the new Founders Park, which kept it well contained. The newly constructed retaining pond near King and Boone streets filled quickly, but also held to its intended capacity. The intersection of the two streets did have some accumulated water, causing vehicles to drive through the puddles.

Roberts said the NWS received a few phone calls about trees falling down in the Johnson City area, but no reports of damage in high volume.

The storm was not so harmless north of Johnson City, with the death of an out-of-state man reported in Abingdon, Va.

Seth Wilbert, 56, of Booneville, N.Y., was killed after being struck by a tree that fell during the storm at around 1:30 p.m. According to the Abingdon Police Department, Wilbert was reportedly loading the trunk of a vehicle when he was struck on Main Street, a half-block west of Pecan Street.

Wilbert was reportedly on vacation in Southwest Virginia. His body was discovered by a Virginia State Police trooper who was patrolling in the area at the time.

It is believed the tree branch was taken down by the high winds that accompanied the storm that swept through the region.

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Wes Bunch of the NET News Service contributed to this story.

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