ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Caught on camera, January 22nd's tornado that devastated South Dougherty County. The Albany Fire Department's training center took almost a direct hit from the tornado, and it's surveillance cameras give you a very up close look at the storm.
This the approach at the Albany Fire Department training center on Honeysuckle Road, as the rain and winds snap trees back. The Center is Albany's back up 9-1-1 center and emergency operations center. The building is made to FEMA standards, with a safe room capable of withstanding a 200 mile per hour tornado.
Albany Emergency Management Director Chief Ron Rowe said "We never intended on testing it, that's for sure. "
"It was very close to a direct hit out there."
Take a look at the tornado, wrapped in rain so that you can't see it's eye, but you can see the rotation of the water and debris. Inside the safe room were Chief Rowe and six firefighters.
Rowe said "We really didn't feel anything inside. But a huge pressure drop. That's what I'm thinking. Everybody's ears popped, and then the storm came over."
The tornado raged for a little over 2 and a half minutes according to the surveillance video. The safe room and training headquarters building had almost no impact, but two other buildings at the training center, just yards away, were heavily damaged.
The National Weather Service estimated the tornadoes winds at 150 mph. Within a couple of miles at least six people were killed by the tornado, and hundreds of trees and homes destroyed.
This is a before picture from that surveillance video, take a look at the trees on the other side of the pond. Now compare that to just 3 minutes later.
Most of those trees snapped, letting you know just how powerful those winds were.
Rowe said "Where we had trees previously, in our lifetime I don't think we'll ever see them again there."
Severe weather winds twice in January heavily damage Albany and surrounding South Georgia. Caught on video, that is the killer storm moving through.