Sheriff sets story straight on storm damage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff sets story straight on storm damage

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

BEN HILL COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Michael Carson is one more than a hundred household and businesses still working to repair damage caused by last week's storms. "Hail started hitting the house, and we just headed toward the hallway and into the bathroom."

Carson's home along Highway 319 was among one of several paths of destruction that Sheriff Bobby McLemore believed was caused by five tornadoes. "Actually two tornadoes came into town. One came in on 107 which is Ten Mile Road, and the other came in through Bell Cabin Road," said McLemore.

McLemore is pretty sure that the first tornado spawned three others once it was in town. "One left out of town on Evergreen Road. One went out Frank Road. And one went out 319 South toward Ocilla.

And he wanted to set the record straight when the National Weather Service said the damage was caused by straight line winds. "I saw from the helicopter a fence that was laid down in every direction. I saw trees that were laid down in every direction," said McLemore.

He said the damage he observed throughout the county could have only been caused by twisting winds. "A straight line wind will break a tree, but it will be a clean break. A tornado will cause a twisting effect, and it will have long shards left on the trunk," said McLemore.

"I have been through nine tornadoes. I have even assessed damage for the Governor's office even back in the '70's. And I know what tornado damage looks like."

Carson says he still isn't sure what caused the roof to blow off his mother's home. "She's been here in Ben Hill for over 30 years, and this is the first time this has ever happened to her on this corner," said Carson. And he only hopes it was the last.

The American Red Cross is still distributing food to storm victims. Anyone who needs it can pick it up at the Red Cross Shelter on North Sheridan Street.

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