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Tornado has leaders looking to improve safety

Following a confirmed tornado touching down in Washington County less than a mile from town limits on Saturday, Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe is on a mission to better inform the community about the possibility of another such storm.
“There were people who didn’t have their televisions or radios on, and they didn’t have a clue that this was coming our way,” Wolfe said. “We need to have an emergency warning system. It’s a matter of public safety. It has to be our top priority as town officials.”
Wolfe is hoping to utilize an air-raid system already installed in the bell tower of the Washington County Courthouse in downtown Jonesborough. The system was previously used by area fire departments, Wolfe said.
“It may sound silly to suggest the town either purchasing a new or renovating our existing air-raid system, but it’s not silly if it is your life that is at risk if we have more of these storms.”
Wolfe said he would be working with Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge to coordinate some form of an early warning sytem so that people can take precautions should another storm like Saturday’s hit the area.
“This hit a half-mile from our town limits,” Wolfe said. “We have got to do something to better prepare our residents for the next one.”
Saturday’s low-level tornado caused major damage as well as power outages throughout Washington County.
According to reports, the tornado touched down near Eldridge’s home on John France Road, just off of Headtown Road in the county. No injuries were reported in the storm.
“We are so fortunate no one was injured this time, but that doesn’t guarantee anything for the next time,” said Eldridge, whose property suffered significant damage in the tornado. “This is just another thing that has brought it to light that we don’t have a way of making the public aware of this kind of thing. We’ve got to do something about that.”