After the Storm: Island Cove Marina one year later - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After the Storm: Island Cove Marina one year later

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Island Cove Marina was devastated when an EF 3 tornado ripped through one year ago. Island Cove Marina was devastated when an EF 3 tornado ripped through one year ago.

HARRISON, TN (WRCB)  --  Employees at Island Cove Marina didn't know if they'd be able to keep their heads above water after an EF 3 tornado took out a majority of the complex.

"It came through about 12:15 p.m.," says Manager Terry Kelley.

Kelley was at lunch when the tornado hit.

"I heard it was headed towards Harrison and then they said the tornado is on the ground," Kelley explains.

Winds in excess of 140 mph damaged at least 300 boats, 27 sunk or turned over.

"One of my employees called me and said 'we've been destroyed.' I said what do you mean destroyed? He said 'we've been destroyed,'" says Kelley.

Nine docks and 70 boats were totaled. Todd McCreary was one of the employees outside when the storm hit.

"I looked up in the trees, and we just heard all the tin start folding back from the docks. All the sudden I saw trees coming straight out of the woods," McCreary explains. "We all took off running into the shop and scattered, hit the corners... it sounded like it was just crashing through the trees and you felt the pressure in your ear, you definitely felt the pressure. Your ears popped, and you felt that intensity of energy."

They emerged from the shop thankful to be alive.

"As we came out our jaws hit the ground. We just started pointing at everything," says McCreary.

A few boat owners were rescued from the mangled docks but no one was injured.

One year later the docks are rebuilt bigger than before, the parking lot is re paved. Just a few things are missing.

"As you can see we've got some slips to rent," jokes Kelley. "We feel like we've come a long way. We're a little ahead of where we thought we'd be a year into the situation...it's just been a team effort from everybody involved."

Kelley says the storm brought his team closer together and they're ready for summer.

 


 

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