published Friday, June 14th, 2013

Officials confirm tornado in Cherokee County, Ga.

ATLANTA — A survey team with the National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Cherokee County as part of a system of severe thunderstorms that moved across the northern part of the state, leaving thousands without power and a mess of downed trees and power lines.

Clean-up efforts and work to restore power continued Friday, a day after the severe weather passed through. Hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted along the 8 1/2-mile path of Thursday evening’s tornado, which was classified as an EF-1 with winds between 86 and 110 miles per hour.

By noon Friday, about 44,000 Georgia Power customers were still without power, with most in metro Atlanta.

Kennesaw State University, northwest of Atlanta, said it was canceling all classes Friday due to power outages. Georgia Perimeter College also canceled Friday classes at its Dunwoody campus, and Oglethorpe University in DeKalb County was closed because of storm damage near campus.

In Sandy Springs, just north of Atlanta, roads were blocked by fallen limbs and debris. The Sandy Springs Municipal Court was closed Friday because of a power outage, and City Hall delayed opening until 10 a.m.

“A huge tree did fall and it’s blocking the road; it’s a big tree,” said Gene Cambardella, who lives in a Sandy Springs neighborhood where large oak and pine trees are commonplace. He reported the massive tree came down across a dead-end street in a neighborhood of two-story suburban homes, blocking any exit for several neighbors.

“We can’t get out,” he said. “It fell across the street into another front yard and it took down the power lines. I looked at the trunk and it must be 3 feet in diameter. I’m glad it fell opposite the neighbor’s home and away from the house.”

In that Sandy Springs neighborhood, one of Cambardella’s neighbors immediately put up emergency tape marking a downed power line sprawled across a front yard. Large limbs were down all around the neighborhood.

In the Cherokee County town of Canton, just northwest of Atlanta, National Weather Service forecasters say falling trees left two people with non-life threatening injuries. Authorities say they suspect that many of the fallen trees in metro Atlanta were toppled by powerful straight-line winds.

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