Strong winds damage Sale Creek Campground - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Strong winds damage Sale Creek Campground

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Photo by WRCB reporter Karilynn Galiotos. Photo by WRCB reporter Karilynn Galiotos.

A tornado didn't touch down in Hamilton County Sunday afternoon, but some residents at a campground near Soddy Daisy said the storm sounded just like one.

The violent winds at the Sale Creek Campground lasted only minutes, but the damage could take days to clean up.

More than a dozen trees were knocked down throughout the site.

"I was just sitting there then all of a sudden everything broke loose. I couldn't see out windows to see whatever was smashing into them," said Sale Creek Campground resident Janet Stoneking.

Residents describe the aftermath as a war zone.

The worst of the damage happened at a camper where a tree cut right through a man's bedroom. Luckily he was at church at the time.

Others who were home said they didn't have time to escape to the nearby shelter.

"I was trying to get the kids out to put them into the bath house. By the time I opened the door, the wind slammed the door shut, and we couldn't even get out of the camper," said camper April Mullikin.

The cleanup process was well underway by Monday.

"We're projecting having everything cleared up by Friday, at the least open up for tenters and campers to come back on Saturday," said Sale Creek Campground manager Franklin Holliday.

The ripped trees serve as a harsh reminder of the storm many residents said was unlike anything they've ever seen.

"It was horrid, that's all I can say. I told my sister out in California that I was in a bad earthquake there, but this was actually scarier," said Stoneking.

Despite the strong winds, and the cleanup process that lies ahead, that storm won't be enough to stop residents like Stoneking from calling the Sale Creek Campground home.

Channel 3 Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys said a tornado did not cause that damage. He said it was likely caused by a microburst, which is common during severe storms. It can cause winds 60 to 80, even up to 100 miles per hour.


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