Twister damages dozens of homes in northwest Georgia

Twister damages dozens of homes in northwest Georgia

February 24th, 2012 Rome News Tribune in News

Trees and power lines clog the roadway on Thursday in Rome, Ga. Dozens of homes were damaged by a storm that rolled through Northwest Georgia, toppling trees and knocking out power to thousands of customers, authorities said.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

ROME, Ga. - The National Weather Service says a tornado damaged dozens of homes in northwest Georgia.

Meteorologist Robert Beasley confirmed Thursday that a twister touched down Wednesday night.

WSB Radio reported that Floyd County Emergency Management Agency Director Scotty Hancock said up to 100 homes were damaged by the storm. Some of the hardest-hit areas were along Kingston Highway and on Turner Chapel Road.

An EF-1 tornado touched down in Floyd County around 10:15 p.m. just west of the Maplewood Subdivision in Rome, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado traveled 3.25 miles, with a maximum path width of 75 yards and a maximum estimated wind speed of 95 mph, according to the Weather Service.

Hundreds of trees were uprooted or snapped as well as some power poles.

Fewer than 100 customers were still without power Thursday evening in Floyd County, said Carol Boatright, a spokeswoman at Georgia Power.

Property damage from the storm was estimated at $1.6 million in Floyd County, according to figures released Thursday.

Freddy Boyd was at home on Ford Drive off of Kingston Highway with his wife and daughter when the storm hit. He was tracking the storm over Cedar Bluff, Ala., when he noticed there was a hook in the storm. Soon afterward the storm struck his home with a roar that he said grew louder and louder.

"There were no warnings at all, so I didn't think much of the storm," Boyd said.

He recalled that the roar of the wind sounded like several trains as he ran with his wife and daughter to a hall in the center of the house.

"Just as we got into the hall, the pressure dropped," said Boyd. "We knew it was right on top of us then. It scared us all."

Floyd County Schools spokesman Tim Hensley said all Floyd County Schools will be open today. Power was restored to Model and Johnson area schools Thursday.

Red Cross volunteers from the Northwest Georgia Chapter have been in the field throughout the day assessing recovery needs of residents of storm-ravaged Floyd County.

The best way to help victims of this and other disasters is by calling 706-291-6648 to make a monetary donation, according to the Red Cross.

Kevin Reese and his girlfriend were in his mobile home on Highway 293 when the storm hit, covered under a blanket.

"It sounded like a train coming, then it was pandemonium," he said.

One death was reported, though it is unclear whether it was directly related to the storm.

Barbara Ann Washington, 73, was rushed to the hospital after having an apparent heart attack during the storm and died, family members said.