EF-3 tornado confirmed in Claiborne County

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray's home was destroyed by an EF-3 Tornado.
Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray's home was destroyed by an EF-3 Tornado.

SPEEDWELL (WATE) – The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-3 tornado touched down near Speedwell in Claiborne County last night with winds of 140 miles per hour.

NWS agents are out surveying damage Monday morning. They began near Speedwell and will also travel to Campbell and Union counties.

Previous story: Possible tornado in Campbell, Claiborne counties; large amount of damage reported across E. Tenn.

The Claiborne County Emergency Management Agency says 10 homes were destroyed in Speedwell, but no injuries were reported.

The home belonging to Sheriff David Ray and his family was destroyed in the storm. They were not injured because they were taking cover in their basement.

Slideshow: WATE 6 On Your Side viewers share photos from the storm

Sheriff Ray says his family is safe because of a phone call.

“At exactly 6:00, my deputy called me and said the radar showed it was coming right here, he said get in the basement,” said Ray.

The sheriff built the house in 1984 and had a spot picked out if extreme weather ever hit. As law enforcement, he’s seen his fair share of destruction, but he says knowing it happened to his family is hard to grasp.

“Its like a dream. Its like a dream,” said Ray.

Neighbors have been stopping by all day, helping pick up the pieces of the sheriff’s roof that flew hundreds of feet from him home as the sheriff digs through what’s left at home.

Even surrounded by devastation, Sheriff Ray has a smile on a face and the Claiborne community in his heart.

“This has been ddevastatingto our community, but the good lord was with us last night,” he said.

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