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The death toll is now at 7 from Gatlinburg’s devastating fires that have damaged or destroed more than 700 structures and raged over 15,000 acres. At least 53 people have been injured. A curfew was enforced in Gatlinburg from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday and those remaining in the city were asked to conserve water. Residents have also been instructed to strain and boil water before drinking. The Dollywood theme park was spared from the blazes and plans to reopen on Friday afternoon.
The Tennessee Emergency management agency says at least two people died in Polk County as strong storms moved through early Wednesday morning. The victims are husband and wife. Their names have not been released. A massive recovery and rescue operation is underway in Polk County. The West Polk Fire Department building was also heavily damaged as the storm ripped off the roof and tore down walls.
At least 20 people were injured early this morning as severe storms blew through McMinn County. Major damage was reported to homes in Deerfield there was significant damage to homes in Deerfield Estates and many injuries. A Save-A-Lot store in Athens, TN also sustained significant damage.
The National Weather Service said a radar-confirmed tornado hit near Tullahoma, Tennessee around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday. At least four homes are reported damaged, numerous down trees and power lines. Reportedly no one was injured. A team from the National Weather Service along with Coffee County emergency personnel plan to survey the area on Wednesday. Damage was also reported in Franklin County.
Authorities say that at least three people were killed as a line of storms and possible tornadoes moved across northern Alabama overnight.
It turns out that there wasn’t just one Powerball Jackpot Lottery winner last Saturday night; there were almost two dozen. A group of 20 co-workers at North American Stamping in Portland, Tennessee will share the $421 million prize. The group, now dubbed the Tennessee 20, has participated in an office lottery pool for about 8 years. Amy O’Neal, of Lafayette, was the person who actually purchased the ticket. At first O’Neal thought she was dreaming when she saw the winning numbers on the third lottery ticket she had purchased. Around 6 a.m. Sunday, O’Neal started calling her co-workers who raced to her home to look at the winning ticket and vote on how to take the winnings. They chose the $254.7 million lump sum payout, which will be divided evenly. In case you’re wondering, that’s $12,735,000 per person.
Dollywood officials tell Local 8 News they plan to reopen Friday.
Before reopening, we're told they're going to take the next two days to support the community following the wildfires.
Dollywood has been helping supply the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge with personal care items.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken. I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe. It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort, Dixie Stampede and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared,” Dolly Parton said.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is open to guests. The Dollywood theme park will resume normal operation on Friday, December 2 at 2 p.m.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam will open the Tennessee Residence on Friday, December 2, for the 6th annual Tennessee’s Home for the Holidays. The open house invites Tennesseans to tour the executive residence, which will be decorated for the holidays.
This year’s holiday theme is “Tennessee Agriculture,” with trees decorated in celebration of produce, livestock and forestry products from across the state. In Conservation Hall, the trees will be decorated with ornaments created by Tennessee students who participated in 4-H, FFA, and Ag in The Classroom programs across the state this past summer. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Tennessee also constructed a 10 ft. tree made of 10,300 children’s books in hopes of setting a Guinness Book of World Records for the largest tree constructed from books.
Tennessee’s Home for the Holidays will be held Monday - Saturday, December 2-16, 2016. Hours are Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tours are free, but visitors must make an online reservation through the First Lady’s website at http://www.tn.gov/firstlady/section/home-for-the-holidays.
On Saturday, December 10, there will be special Family & Farm Day activities offered to visitors who attend the open house, including a farm animal petting zoo and craft demonstrations. Families must make a regular open house reservation on the First Lady’s website for Saturday, December 10 to attend.