Storms cause heavy damage at Dougherty Lee line - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Storms cause heavy damage at Dougherty Lee line

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

January 7, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some of the worst was at the Dougherty Lee County line.

Trees along Dunbar Lane were ripped in half, one tree split a home in two. In the Huntington Subdivision in Lee County, fence boards were turned into missles which pelted several homes doing damage both inside and out.

The storm struck as many along North Jefferson and Dunbar Lane were still in bed, but it didn't take Keith Maffett long to realize he had significant damage. His mother in law's home which has been vacant since her death, was split in two, and his two story shed now only has one story.

"Matter of fact, it's about a quarter of a mile up the road, half of it is," said Keith Maffett, a storm victim.

First light revealed the mess on lines down and debris scattered. A boat was heavily damaged by flying and fallen debris. Georgia Power crews were quick to begin restoring power. It was little comfort to families like the Butlers who's fence was turned into spears thrown at their home.

"My wife came running down the hall and I hollered just get down and it was like everything outside was red and it was like boom then it was over in a matter of seconds," said Leroy Butler, a storm victim.

Inside their two year old daughter Ashley's bedroom debris cracked the wall. At the neighbor's, a smashed window courtesy of a flying garbage can, and more damage.

"I didn't really know those were dents, I just thought it was debris until I walked up on it. It was really unbelievable," said Tempteste Butler, a storm victim.

Many residents had no warning, the National Weather Service didn't get wind of the storm that sent trees onto homes until the damage was already done. That's why emergency managers say you should head any early warning.

"A picture's worth a thousand words. If they can see what the wind can do to metal, to trees, to homes it's why we tell them to get into a safe spot to protect themselves," said Jim Vaught, Dougherty County EMA Director.

The cleanup could take days as victims consult their insurance companies to see what the storm will cost. Public works crews quickly mobilized many of their street sweepers to make Albany's roads passable for the morning commute.

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