Americus caught off guard by violent overnight deluge

Americus caught off guard by violent overnight deluge
Several trees were blown down
Several trees were blown down
Water is still standing in some spots
Water is still standing in some spots

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Cleanup is underway in Americus, where strong storms left a path of destruction Tuesday morning.

The tree is cleared but it left its mark on cars and home that were in its way. This call last night was one of more than a dozen that firefighters in the city responded to during the storm.

Crews in Americus spent much of the day cleaning up debris strewn across town. Trees and limbs were thrown down by strong winds that came through early this morning.

"Rain, lightning, wind, lots of thunder last night. Just a good old fashioned storm," said Sumter County EMA Director Nigel Poole.

A tree on College Street slammed into two cars and a home. Another tree on Cornelia Drive took out utility sheds, and torrential rain forced one woman out of her home last night.

"It was bad. We done cleaned it up good," said Eva Lockhart.

Eva Lockhart says the water filled her home several inches deep and was flowing in from the front and back doors.

The National Weather Service even looked into the storm cell that slammed the city.

"They were looking for a rotation in the clouds just to make sure that it wasn't a tornado of any sort and they said it just didn't appear to be. There was no Rotation in the storm-- just a lot of weather and a lot of wind dumped into this little area in a short amount of time," said Poole.

Although this damage looks bad, no one was hurt.  "I mean it's unfortunate all around, but we're lucky that no one was physically harmed," said Poole.

Johnathan Wright is one of several people who woke up this morning to flood waters near his apartment.  "Didn't expect to wake up to all this," said Wright.

Water pooled up several inches in most apartments and flooded several cars. The owner of the complex spent all day cleaning up the damage.

"I haven't put an assessment on it yet. I'm going to be honest with you. It ain't going to be cheap," said Allen Smith.

Smith doesn't have flood insurance since the property isn't in a flood plain. The torrential rain was too much for nearby drains.

"It looks like this drainage pipe has been blocked and when the water couldn't drain any further it spilled over into this area," said Sumter County EMA Director Nigel Poole.

The water receded out of the apartments pretty quickly, but the damage was severe. The sheetrock may have to be replaced in a lot of the units.

"I'm hoping to have it cleaned up in a few days and I know in these two apartments, the first two apartments down here there's some carpet that's got to be pulled up and replaced and stuff like that but that'll just take a little time," said Smith.

"It's just a matter of them cleaning up and mitigating this to see what we can do so that this won't ever happen again," said Poole.

Many of the residents are back hoping to move back in soon but are shaken by the damage. "It's just devastating," said Wright.

The Red Cross put most of the victims up in a motel last night. Luckily the rain stopped before the water ruined everything inside these apartments.

Americus and Northeast Americus received nearly seven inches of rain in just six hours. Residents in the area say they weren't even aware about the warning for the severe weather until it happened.  Many residents in that area also may have difficulty paying for property damage, due to not owning flood insurance.

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