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High winds, severe weather expected through early Sunday

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 10, 2020 at 11:25 PM

The National Weather Service has issued a high-wind warning for the upper elevations and foothills of Northeast Tennessee, beginning late Friday night and continuing through early Sunday.

Meteorologist Danny Gant with the NWS office in Morristown said strong, southerly winds rising over the mountains will create a condition known as a Mountain Wave coming out the Carolinas into Carter, Johnson and Unicoi counties.

Wind speeds will intensify overnight with sustained winds of approximately 40 mph and gusts of up to 70 mph sweeping down the western mountain slopes into the foothills and lower elevations, beginning at around 5 a.m. and continuing throughout the day Saturday.

A separate line of strong storms approaching from the west will arrive in the Tri-Cities on Saturday afternoon, bringing another round of high wind combined with heavy rain, thunderstorms and a chance of isolated flooding to the entire area. Isolated tornadoes are also possible.

Gant said the good news is the rapidly moving storm line will clear out of the area fairly quickly, although strong winds are expected to continue through early Sunday.

Saturday’s severe weather advisory includes all of East Tennessee. Gant urged residents across the region and particularly those in the higher elevations to continue checking the local forecast for updates.

He said the good news is the rapidly moving storm line will clear out of the area fairly quickly, although strong winds are expected to continue through early Sunday.

The statewide threat of severe weather prompted the American Red Cross office in Nashville to issue a reminder for everyone to be prepared.

The Red Cross recommended the following storm safety tips:

• Emergency Kit: Put together an emergency kit, including first aid items, batteries, battery operated flashlights, a battery operated radio and a 3-day supply of water and easy-to prepare food items for everyone in your household.

• Be Aware: Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates.

• Seek Shelter: If a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or enclosed area, stay away from windows and doors and avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Evacuate mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

• Outdoor Safety: Watch for signs of a storm such as darkening skies and lightning flashes. If caught outside away from a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers.

• Avoid Floodwaters: Stay away from floodwaters while driving or walking. Turn around and go another way.

To learn more about storm safety preparedness, visit redcross.org/prepare.

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