One death confirmed after storms tear through Tennessee Monday

(WMC-TV) - Folks in parts of Tennesse spent much of Monday morning and afternoon watching the skies as dangerous thunderstorms moved through the area.

Damage was reported across Shelby County, and there were at least scattered reports of damage from North Mississippi. At one point Monday afternoon, about 50,000 MLGW customers were without power.

MLGW confirmed one fatality following Monday's storm.  The utility said 87-year-old Ed Bennett died instantaneously when he came in contact with a downed power line.

The accident happened as the storm rolled through the area of Shady Grove and South Yates.  

"Very difficult," said the victim's son, Michael Bennett.  "He's in a good place."

Bennett reportedly went into his backyard where a wire had fallen into some shrubbery and started a fire.  He became concerned and even called a neighbor before his death.

"I know he knows better than to touch a live wire," said Michael Bennett.  "Don't know if it flicked or something, but it got him and he's in heaven now."

Ed Bennett left behind a large family, including his wife of more than 65 years.

Some of the worst damage was along streets near Park Avenue and I-240.  Straight line winds toppled massive oak trees.

"Big trees going straight through the middle of some people's home," said storm victim Jim Morrison.  "Not a good thing."

We counted nearly a dozen severely damaged houses along just two streets. 

"The straight line winds the time Elvis came through went on both sides of us but didn't touch us," recalled homeowner Carol Crook.  "This one got us," she added.

Neighbors said they always feared this type of damage because of all of the incredibly tall trees.

Karen Bisso recalled her reaction when she first saw one of the trees through her roof.

"Oh my God," she said.

She said the tight-knit neighborhood would work together to rebuild.

"It's a little devastating, but we'll get through it," she said.

Monday began with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, but the coming front will drop them into the 30s by dawn Tuesday and there could be some scattered frost.  Many homes face a cold night without electricity.

Temperatures are expected to rebound quickly with highs Wednesday again in the 60s and 70s.

An 85-year-old woman had to be rescued from her home when the storms ripped a tree out of the ground and it landed on top of her home.

Augustus Odom said his 85-year-old mother, Anjanette Gibson, was trapped in her home in the 1300 block of Doris Avenue.

"She's trapped," said Odom.  "She was trapped in there for I don't know how long."

Gibson was inside the home with her daughter when a huge tree came crashing into it.

"She couldn't even get out of her bed a while ago," said John Ballard, Gibson's son.  "She had a stroke about a month ago.  My sister came in from Arkansas to help me take care of her.  She got trapped in the house."

The tree also flattened a truck in a neighboring driveway.

Gibson and her daughter were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

"She got a few bruises from where the ceiling came down on her," said Odom.

Odom said he knew it would only be a matter of time before a tree came crashing down.  He said he and his family have been trying to get neighbors and the city to cut it down.

"They've been begging those people to take these trees down, begging these people to cut these trees," said Odom.

Meanwhile, operations were back to normal late Monday inside St. Francis hospital after the storm did some damage to the building on Park Avenue.

There was some structural damage to the hospital building and non-emergency procedures were delayed for 30 minutes during the storm.

The water pressure at the hospital has been stabilized.

MLGW advised everyone to be careful following the storms.  Call 528-4465 to report downed power lines.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.