Family credits WALB app alert for storm safe move -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Family credits WALB app alert for storm safe move

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Sherry Collins (Source: WALB) Sherry Collins (Source: WALB)
Alex Collins (Source: WALB) Alex Collins (Source: WALB)

Strong storms from Tuesday night may have passed, but South Georgia officials are warning people about tree danger.

Roots of large trees have been loosened by all the rain, and could still fall.  And those trees can be devastating.

But one Lee County family credits a WALB First Alert Weather app bulletin with saving lives. They went to a safe place just before a tree crashed through their roof.

It took a crane to pull the massive, 95-year-old white oak out of the Collins' family home on Hickory Ridge Wednesday morning.

It crashed down through their roof and ceiling during the height of the storm.

Sherry Collins and her two children were sleeping, until her WALB First Alert Weather App sounded the alarm of a tornado warning.

"It said the message, take shelter," she explained.

"My Mom, on her phone, she got the tornado warning alert," said Alex Collins. "She and my sister were sleeping in the bed, which is now in the room which all the wreckage is."

They went to the bedroom closet for shelter.

"We heard a tremendous boom," Alex Collins said. "And I'm pretty sure it was the tree hitting the house. It was pretty scary."

"The roof inside collapsed inside," said Sherry Collins. "And part of it in over our bed. So we were very lucky."

The clean up, with much of the roof and ceiling of the home smashed by that one tree. Lee Harper says he has 11 more customers with trees down during the storm, but he says many more trees will fall in the next days.

"Trees are still going to fall until we get some drier weather to dry up the grounds," Lee Harper of Harper Tree Service said. "From all the rains we already had. So you could have a tree fall everyday."

Dennis Collins was working when the tree fell. Now his family is thanking the community.

It's estimated it could take six months to get their home ready to live in again, but the Collins say the main thing is that they are safe.

County and city officials say they are concerned about healthy trees falling because of the extremely wet ground and winds.

Harper says if you have a tree on the west side of your home that is leaning, you might consider sleeping on the other side of the house until you have it looked at by an expert.

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