Thomas county has worst tornado damage in Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas county has worst tornado damage in Georgia

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

February 23, 2009

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - The insurance commissioner declared there's at least 10 million dollars worth of tornado damage in Thomas and Grady Counties.

John Oxendine flew over those two counties Monday, six days after 11 tornadoes ravaged Georgia. He says the damage in Thomas County is the worst in the state.

On Friday, the governor declared states of emergency in four counties, including Thomas. Oxendine says Thomas county has by far, the worst damage in Georgia.

Now, homeowners are starting over, cleaning up, salvaging belongings and filing insurance claims. A process Oxendine says can cause some confusion.

"My neighbor's tree falls on my house, who's insurance pays for it? It's going to be your insurance even if its your neighbors tree. And if a tree does fall, the insurance company will pay any reasonable amount of money to remove that," says Oxendine.

But if a tree just falls in the yard, and doesn't hit anything, it's a different process.

"Most policies will pay 500 to 600 dollars for a debri removal.  Just ask your adjuster for debri removal. They'll simply give you that money," says Oxendine.

Many people who lost everything, were not insured. For them, and any other victims, the Red Cross says they're here, and ready to serve.

"Our outreach teams are all in the community here in Thomasville and in Boston going door to door in some of the neighborhoods trying to find these folks," says John Wright, American Red Cross. "We can take care of some minor home damage, if they need a tarp for the roof, if they need food or water or clothing."

Both Red Cross volunteers and the insurance commissioner warn this just the beginning of tornado season.

Now's the time to prepare for the future. make sure you have the right kind and amount of insurance so you're prepared if another disaster strikes.

The 10 million dollar damage estimate for Thomas and Grady Counties brings the statewide damage figure to 35 million dollars.

If you need Red Cross assistance in Thomas or Grady County, you can call the local chapter at 229-226-2181.

And if you're a storm victim and need to reach the insurance commissioners office, there's a toll free number you can call between 8am and 7pm. That number is 1-800-656-2298.

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