Ivan spawns tornadoes, leaving some homes smashed - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Ivan spawns tornadoes, leaving some homes smashed

September 16, 2004

Blakely-- The National Weather Service issued more than two dozen tornado warnings. Since late Wednesday afternoon, 31 tornado warnings have been issued in 14 area counties.

Nearly half of those warnings, 15 of them, were issued in Early County. Several tornadoes did touch down and cause damage there. One family's home was destroyed.

As they surveyed the damage, another twister chased them away. James Taylor and his friends gather up his son's shoes, looking for anything they might can salvage. His wife Shelby gathers toys from a closet.

Not much is what is left of their home on Cuba Road outside Blakely, after a direct hit from a tornado.

They have lived here only six months, when they saw the black clouds coming. James Taylor said, "We all run and threw the kids in the tub, and threw blankets over them. Two seconds later it was over. It was that quick."

The tornado ripped the attic right off the house, just above the bathroom they hid in. Shelby Taylor said, "It was quick. I didn't even have time to get down, I was standing in the middle of my bedroom and the front door blows in. And that's it, it's over."

The twister flipped Shelby’s one-month-old pickup truck onto its roof. But it wasn't over. While trying to put a tarp on their roof, a second tornado came from the same spot.

James said, "We saw the funnel clouds again. It looked the same, acted the same, and everything was the same before. We just got everybody out and went to Blakely. The tornado was just following us to Blakely. Like it was after us, laughs."

With friends and family helping, the Taylors pick up what is left of their home. Everything is wet and ruined; Their 6 and 8 year old sons traumatized by a night of tornadoes.

Shelby said, "Every time the wind starts blowing my little one gets terrified. 'Momma is there another tornado coming?' Yea there is another one out there, we just stay here and wait for it to blow over baby."

But the Taylors were not hurt, and already have begun to start over. Shelby said, "I'll break down when I have time to let it all soak in."

Even though their home is destroyed, The Taylors count their blessings. James Taylor said "Just happy to be here."

The Taylors' friends are storing their possessions, and their friends and family will take them in while they rebuild.

Several trees were blown over Thursday morning, as their roots gave way in the soaked ground. One tree fell onto East South Boulevard after about seven inches of rain fell. Crews stayed busy trying to clear the streets, knowing the problem could get worse.

"As saturated as our ground is here, what our concerns is with the winds, it'll start uprooting trees and when they do invariably that will get some power lines," said Mayor Ric Hall.

On Highway 27 south of Blakely, a huge pine tree fell across the road. Department of Transportation crews cleared this tree, then quickly moved on to another trouble spot.

posted at 5:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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