Weather Quirk Strikes Tennessee Campground
Something strange happened in Dandridge, Tenn., just before a storm moved through Tuesday night (July 22).
Was it a tornado, or something else?
"It came out of the north and headed down to where I was mowing," Bobby Leatherwood, campground manager at Lakeshore RV Park, told WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn. He was mowing grass about 6 p.m. at the campground located 20 miles northeast of Gatlinburg.
"There wasn't no warning or anything it just – poof – it just started in the ground and just started picking up and the boats started lifting up," said Leatherwood.
He saw five pontoon boats and their trailers spinning through the air above the field where they had been parked in a row.
"The wind started picking up off the ground and these boats started lifting up," he said, spinning his hands. "The one up next to the fence it was up in the air going around like it was on the end of a rope."
That boat belongs to Jim Hayes.
"The boat is actually upside down up there by the woods," said Hayes, as he picked up lifejackets and fishing rods spread across the field.
He was in Knoxville Tuesday night and got a call about his boat being damaged.
"I'm just glad I wasn't in it fishing when it happened," said Hayes. "But it actually touched down on the lake too. I think it hit here then it touched down again on the lake."
But what was it, exactly?
"It acted like a tornado but it didn't come out of the sky, it come up, like those little twisters you see," said Leatherwood.
It dropped most of the boats and trailers in a mangled mess but did not touch a nearby boat, any campers or trees.
"It started raining about 5 or 10 minutes after this was over with," said Leatherwood.
As for boat owner Hayes, "I guess I'll just be fishing from the bank for awhile."