UPDATE: The National Weather Service has confirmed that the Athens storms, were in fact, a tornado, but have not yet determined the strength or windspeed.

NWS spokesperson Anthony Cavallucci said the worst area hit was the Deerfield Estates. The area is inaccessible even for NWS crews as of 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Channel 3's NBC partner WBIR.

Additionally, the tornado watches for much of the TN Valley have expired.


PREVIOUS STORY: In Polk County, the storm has claimed the lives of a husband and wife, according to the Associated Press.

The storms, which have not yet been classified as tornadoes, slammed the Ocoee Post Office and the Ocoee Fire Department, toppling both buildings.

At the post office, postal workers hurried to gather as much mail as possible in the wind and the rain, to prevent further damage.


PREVIOUS STORY: Dekalb County EMA Director Anthony Clifton tells Channel 3 that the Dekalb County Fire Department has reported that there are at least three adults in critical condition.  A 24-Hour Day Care in Dekalb County was closed overnight; however, the family who owns the daycare lives in a mobile home close by and went to the daycare to seek shelter from the storm.  There were four adults and three children in the daycare and they have been transported to Erlanger hospital.  The daycare is destroyed.

There have also been 25 others from the area transported to the hospital with minor injuries from the storm.



PREVIOUS STORY: According to the Sheriff in Polk County, he has labeled this area as a "Disaster Zone."  He has confirmed there are a few fatalities.  Avoid the Benton-Ocoee area. 411 Hwy in Ocoee and south of 411 is shut down. Power lines are down and several buildings damaged. 

There is debris on State Route 33 eastbound.  The debris is between Georgia-Tennessee State line. This was reported at 4:18 AM and estimated to be cleared by 6:18 AM.  Eastbound traffic is affected with roadway closed.  Westbound traffic is affected with roadway closed.

In Jackson County, there are three fatalities confirmed. County Road 71 is shut down in Rosalie. Several power lines are down on roads and crews say they are still recovering people.

Debris on State Route 307 northbound in McMinn County - debris is between SR-30 Green St. and beginning of Eastanallee Avenue at the McMinn-Monroe County Line reported at 3:14 AM and estimated to be cleared by &:)) AM. Northbound traffic is affected with the roadway partially block. Southbound traffic is affected with the roadway partially blocked.

Some schools in the Channel 3 viewing area have closed for the day; other have delayed their start times.

There are multiple reports of downed powerlines throughout the area following the storms.