Strong storms hit Rhea County, hundreds left in the dark - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Strong storms hit Rhea County, hundreds left in the dark

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DAYTON, TN. (WRCB) -- Lawrence Willin and his neighbor sweat it out while cutting downed trees and trying to untangle his son's trampoline.

It bounced into the woods behind his home.

All of this happened Sunday night on Abby Road in Dayton as the Channel 3 Storm Alert Team tracked a small cluster of storms heading through Rhea County and the northern end of our viewing area.

Willin says it happened almost instantly.

The storms took the air conditioning and power for hundreds just after 11 o'clock Sunday.

That was right around the time Willin noticed the winds picking up outside.

He checked for damage and saw a mess in his backyard. 

"When I first looked outside, nothing had been removed yet then I heard a big pop," Willin says. "When I come outside the gazebo was twisted, the pool had a hole in it, the trampoline was in a tree."

What looks like tornado damage is actually a downburst.

Unlike a tornado which pulls things into a funnel cloud, downbursts pushes everything to the ground and has massive winds speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.

Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys says they are more frequent than tornadoes and shouldn't be taken lightly.

"They are much more numerous than tornadoes and they happen all the time," he says. "So when we put out a severe storm warning, we are serious about it."

Willin eventually got the trampoline out of the tree, but repairs are another story.

He says he'll just have to find other ways to have fun this summer.

Dayton city says the power has been restored to the area.

There were numerous reports of down trees and property damage, but over all no injuries.

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