published Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Storm damages homes, whips up wind across Georgia

ATLANTA — Forecasters are warning of high winds with gusts of up to 40 mph across Georgia, part of a winter storm system that damaged several homes northwest of Atlanta and brought snow and ice to parts of the north Georgia mountains.

High winds damaged several homes near the Calhoun Premium Outlets along Interstate 75 in Gordon County around 4 p.m. Tuesday, Gordon County Chief Deputy Sheriff Robert Paris said.

About 10 homes appeared to be damaged, including one that housed an in-home daycare, Gordon County Emergency Management Agency Director Richard Cooper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No injuries were reported.

Randall James said his two-car garage and a backyard shed were destroyed by the Gordon County storm. James, who was at work when the storms hit, said his wife grabbed their kids and their pregnant dog and headed for shelter.

“As soon as she heard it, she hollered, ‘Get in the hallway,”’ Jones told WSB-TV. “And we have a female yorkie that’s pregnant. She grabbed her up and went to praying.”

In Glascock County west of Augusta, a Tuesday night storm damaged three homes and a church in the Gibson area.

“Magnolia Baptist Church is virtually destroyed,” Glascock County Sheriff Dean Couch told the Augusta Chronicle. “The steeple, roof and part of the building are torn down.”

Statewide, about 5,100 customers were without power early this morning, Georgia Power reported. About 2,500 of them were in metro Atlanta.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind advisory for most of the state through 7 p.m. today. The advisory covers all of north and central Georgia and much of south Georgia.

The weather service warns that sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph with stronger gusts could topple some trees. Also, driving high-profile vehicles could be hazardous.

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