CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -  Below is a statement from the Tennessee Valley Authority on damage sustained during the storms.

Today's series of storms caused major damage to the TVA power system.  We have never experienced such a major weather event in our history.

Local power companies, especially those in Alabama and Mississippi, have also sustained major damage.

Hundreds of thousands of consumers are without power because of damage to power lines and other equipment.

Due to the magnitude of the problems, it could take several days in some cases to restore power to some customers.

As each wave of storms passed through the TVA service area through the day and evening Wednesday, the TVA power system sustained additional damage.

As of 10 p.m. EDT, the TVA power system was stable, but more than 90 transmission lines were out of service, including 25 of the largest 500-kilovolt lines. The hardest hit areas for power line damage were central and north Mississippi, north Alabama and southeastern Tennessee.

Browns Ferry Nuclear plant shut down safely, as designed, when the site briefly lost its external electricity supply.  Emergency backup power systems -- including diesel generators -- immediately began working and continued to operate as a precaution after outside power was restored. The plant and its safety systems performed well.

A tornado that touched down at Widows Creek Fossil Plant in northern Alabama damaged transmission equipment and lines, taking several out of service.

On the transmission system, TVA's first priority is safety. Crews will be able to better assess damage when daylight allows, and efforts to restore service and repair damage will move ahead across the territory.

While damage assessments continue, the top priorities will be:

  1. Restoring full power to Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
  2. Safely restoring power to the most critical customer loads (hospitals, assisted living, etc.)

Restoration in some areas will not be possible until water from the heavy rain recedes. 

TVA staff are working around the clock to assess the system damage and restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. TVA thanks the public, local power companies, and state and local agencies for their assistance during this severe weather event.