Deadly Storms Blast Through Smokies

July 06, 2012; 5:00 AM
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<a href="http://instagram.com/p/MuTCDvpphG/">Instagram user @Adambrimer</a> took this photo of a command center set up to coordinate the rescue operations at Cade's Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Severe thunderstorms packing winds estimated at 70 mph tore through a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park late Thursday afternoon, killing two, injuring dozens and knocking down numerous trees.

Park officials confirmed to local TV affiliates WBIR and WATE late in the evening that two people lost their lives during the storms.

One person, a female, was killed at a campground after being struck by a falling tree. Another person, a male, was killed after wrecking his motorcycle.

At least a dozen other people have been hurt by the storms, Deputy Park Superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald told the Associated Press.

While the exact cause of the injuries are not yet known, the thunderstorm knocked down numerous trees, many landing onto streets and homes, causing power outages.

A radar snapshot around the time the severe storms were rolling through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Numerous other severe storms across the Appalachian region and Southeast caused wind damage as well.

As of early this morning, rescue efforts to reach those reported to be stranded and injured were still under way.

The thunderstorm that blasted through the National Park arrived around 6:00 p.m. local time and impacted places such as Cades Cove, Abrams Creek and Metcalf Bottoms.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the nation, is located along the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains along the central border of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Unfortunately, more storms with damaging winds will take aim on the South again today.

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