Funnel clouds bring damage to Blakely - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Funnel clouds bring damage to Blakely

September 15, 2004

Hurricane Ivan is already causing problems in south Georgia. Three tornadoes touched down in Early County within hours of each other.

Two followed a nearly identical northwest path across Blakely-- one witness described them as "freight trains."

Entering Blakely on Highway 62 West, you first see Early Automotive Service Shop. It is badly damaged--the roof torn off by tornadic winds.

A few steps away, witnesses are stunned, "Down from the house close to Arlington a tornado dropped down about two miles from us so we come up here trying to run away and it come up here, came through the trees, hit them and knocked it out," says Mickey Allen.

The winds whipped up debris, damaging this woman's car, "Everybody's car just down the parking lot, one of the windows burst out, semi slammed into the trees and the trailer turned over, it was terrible."

Continue northwest, along the path of the tornadoes, and workers clean up damage to Birdsong Peanut. Manager Greg Grimsley says, "We are just trying to remove any debris so if there is a next round of storms it won't be a hazard."

A trailer is overturned, part of a cold storage unit's metal siding is pulled back, a portion of the roof on another building gone, and farther down more damage to a Birdsong building.

All along Church Street, homes here are damaged and shingles ripped off.

People say they ran for cover from the tornadoes, "I was standing right there and saw the tornado forming and ran back in the house in their and I opened the door and told them take cover y'all," says Marvin Thompson.

The tornadic winds were so powerful, they uprooted a large oak tree on Church Street.

Blocks of North Main Street are closed, as power crews repair downed power lines that are causing sporadic power outages around Blakely. A worker at a convenience store without power isn't sure how long power will be out, "We really don't know yet but I think for another hour or two."

Just how much damage the tornadoes caused is still being assessed, but there is no doubt the multiple tornadoes packed a powerful punch.

It's unclear when power will be turned on to people. We know that at least one person, a truck driver with Birdsong Peanuts, was injured in the tornado. We are told his injuries are minor and did not require hospitalization.

Posted at 11:15 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com