Mitchell County residents remember deadly tornado - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell County residents remember deadly tornado

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) -

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) - Eleven years ago on Monday a powerful and deadly F3 tornado ripped through neighborhoods in Camilla.

It killed 13 people and destroyed 250 homes.

Many people who survived the storm have harrowing stories.

After the twister, county leaders started an effort to educate people about severe weather, and installed two weather alert sirens.

In an urban setting like Albany, these weather sirens work well, but in Mitchell County which is more rural, people rely on their phone and weather radios, and they haven't forgotten the storm eleven years ago.

Devastation, that's what was left behind in Camilla 11 years ago Monday. Just ask Will Mobley who one minute was sitting in the bedroom with his then 13-year-old son, the next was outside.

"He and my wife all three of us were thrown," Mobley said.

About 200 ft to the shed behind the house. Neighbors found Will paralyzed, unable to get up.

"They lifted me up and put me in the back of the truck and took me to the hospital," Mobley said.

His recovery, just like the area's slow and difficult, from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane and to the present. Slowly the area has come back. Daniel Gary who owed Gary's Palm Park, a mobile home park which was destroyed has replaced the mobile homes with a convenience store. He was in New York when the storm hit.

"My whole word changed again for me and then I just wanted to know my mom was okay," Gary said.

Some wanted him to rebuild, others were too wary of the area.

They designated this area here, they started calling it tornado alley," said Gary.

Now in Camilla, residents pay attention to the weather, they have weather radios, aren't hesitant to leave in bad weather for a safe area, they have a new 911 center, and the new Code Red warning systems have helped.

"Stuff like that will turn you in a different direction, you know stuff you didn't use to do, you find out, you need to do," said Mobley.

Will Mobley is thankful for everyday, and doesn't take life or the weather for granted.

Mitchell County, like Dougherty, and 65 other state wide are storm ready communities, which means they've taken the necessary steps to alert citizens in the event of bad weather.

Since 2000, Mitchell County's storm preparedness has improved.

When a F3 tornado hit the same area in 2003, four people were killed.

Tornados also struck in 2005 and 2007, but no one was killed.

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