NWS confirms Lowndes Co. twister

NWS confirms Lowndes Co. twister
Kelly Godsey
Kelly Godsey

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Employees at Langdale Forest Products continued sweeping up and cleaning up Tuesday from the damage caused by Monday's surprise storm, which the National Weather Service in Tallahassee confirmed Tuesday as an EF-2 tornado.

"Max winds of 120 miles per hour. Tornado was on the ground for about .8 miles, had a max width of about 180 yards," explained Kelly Godsey, a meteorologist with the National Weather service in Tallahassee.

Godsey and another meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee spent Tuesday surveying the damage from the storm.

"We'll look at 'did the structure collapse'," said Godsey. "Are we looking at just mainly roof damage? Or, are we looking at how some of the things were put together? Are we seeing construction where the walls were anchored to the ground, to the slab, and then just looking at some of the debris patterns."

Surveillance video from a business near Langdale Forest Products Monday showed the tornado touching down. The damage that remained Tuesday was just a small portion of the total damage emergency responders had to deal with after the storm on Monday.

"We had numerous cars we had to search, we had two rail cars that were tipped over. We weren't sure if there were any hazardous materials that were leaking," said Valdosta Fire Department Captain Ken Gallagher.

Godsey said tornados aren't necessarily uncommon in the deep south in late December, but the fact that Monday's storm turned into a tornado so quickly and without any prior indication is uncommon.

"This, however, was somewhat of an unusual event. It was a very small storm, only had up to about 8,000 feet in the atmosphere. So, that's something fairly unusual for us to actually see," Godsey pointed out.

A reminder always to keep an eye on the sky any time a storm approaches.

Monday's tornado was the second confirmed tornado in Lowndes County in a week. On December 23rd, an EF-0 tornado touched down and knocked over trees and power lines near Clyattville.

According to a report Monday, police spotted the tornado at 11:32 a.m. about 11 miles southwest of Naylor, GA. Just three minutes later, the NWS issued a tornado warning for the area.

Copyright 2014 WALB. All rights reserved.