Ivan doesn't come empty-handed - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ivan doesn't come empty-handed

Hurricane damage at Cape Shoals (Courtesy: Gulf County Tourist Development Council) Hurricane damage at Cape Shoals (Courtesy: Gulf County Tourist Development Council)

September 15, 2004

South Georgia-- Tornadoes were reported in at least five southwest Georgia counties this evening, damaging homes and causing minor injuries as Hurricane Ivan bore down on the Gulf Coast.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Lisa Ray said seven or eight homes in Early County were damaged by a twister and several minor injuries were reported.

Initial reports say another tornado in neighboring Miller County damaged roughly the same number of buildings and a Department of Transportation facility.

More twisters -- three in Baker County and one each in Grady and Calhoun counties -- were spotted, with none causing major damage.

Hurricane Ivan is expected to come ashore early tomorrow near the Alabama-Mississippi line.

 At 8:00pm, the large eye of Ivan was centered near latitude 28.9 north, longitude 88.2 west, or about 100 miles south of the Alabama coastline.

Forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Ivan will stall out for days inland and dumping up to 20 inches of rain on the southern Appalachian Mountains. It's prompted early dam releases, sand bagging, school closings, and other precautions in anticipation of severe flooding.

After the hurricane makes landfall on the Gulf coast tomorrow and heads north, it's expected to bring perhaps its heaviest rains to the mountains and up to a foot in north Georgia -- upstream from Atlanta.

The National Weather Service says the storm could remain parked over the area until at least Monday, with its eye near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Authorities are warning that residents in the mountains in north Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas to be prepared to seek higher ground.

Atlanta and other Georgia cities are clearing storm drains of leaves and debris. And schools in some counties along the Chattahoochee River have canceled classes and postponed high school football games and homecoming dances.

updated at 8:31PM by dave.miller@walb.com