Severe weather hits Sumter Co. hard - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Severe weather hits Sumter Co. hard

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

Sumter County,  GA (WALB) - Damaging winds and heavy rain pummeled the county, uprooting trees, knocking down power lines, even causing some damage to a couple businesses and one home. Brownlee's Grocery on Highway 19 about 7 miles south of Americus.

It sustained some damage along with that business beside it, and another residence beyond it. Now, the National Weather Service hasn't confirmed it was a tornado that touched down, but residents here are convinced it was.  

The sound of cleanup rang loud and clear Friday morning on Highway 19 seven miles south of Americus. Raging winds and heavy rain damaged two Sumter county businesses, and one residence.  

77-year-old Ruth Booth was watching TV in her living room when the storm hit. "It was quarter to seven when it really started raining," she said.

Then the wind picked up speed. "Like a whirlwind, loud, like a siren had gone off. The whole house shook like an earthquake." Her dog Precious was the only one around, arguably more scared than she was.  

Several trees toppled onto her roof. She's left when a collapsed ceiling, and a big mess.  

At Brownlee's Grocery and Market there was more cleanup.   Thankfully the main building wasn't hit, but the side storage building was destroyed.

"Everybody's been really helpful," said Kim Brownlee. "We didn't lose power, and the phone lines are working."

And beside them sits Sullivan's Forestry building where a pine tree smashed through the roof. Daylight shines through revealing buckets, tarps, and a water filled floor.   But Despite it all, the community is counting it's blessings.

"You can rebuild, but you can't replace human life," said Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith. "All they can do, is pick up the pieces, and move forward."

Several power lines were downed all over the county, but most of the power was restored by Sumter EMC and Georgia Power crews last night. The last few stragglers had power Friday morning by 10AM.

But the community still has awhile to go before everything looks normal again. No one was injured in last night's storms.

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