ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. (TheBlaze/AP) — Violent storms swept through the Southeast, leaving two people dead Wednesday before the vast front moved on to pummel the East Coast.
Many homes in the Georgia city of Adairsville are left demolished by a massive storm, which brought tornadoes and winds strong enough to flip cars and even semi-trucks. The heavy rains moving across the East Coast also raised flash flood fears and forced water rescues in Virginia and Maryland near the nation’s capital.
Here’s an Associated Press report with Georgia residents describing their experience with the tornado:
Adairsville residents began sifting through belongings in homes leveled to the ground Wednesday.
Here are pictures showing the storm and its destruction:
“I’m just picking up pictures,” the 28-year-old Kandi Cash said, according to the Associated Press as she sifted through debris of her grandparent’s demolished home. “I’ve found the most important ones, like when my cousin was born and her late daddy, the ones that matter most.”
Cash, who lives in nearby Cartersville, rode out the violent weather in a neighbor’s basement. Once the worst had passed, she called her family in Adairsville and was relieved to hear they’d all made it to a cinderblock storm shelter under her grandparents’ home.
“I just told them that the Lord was watching after them,” she said. “The houses can be rebuilt. The most important thing was that they were safe.”
WSB-TV in Atlanta aired footage of an enormous funnel cloud bearing down on Adairsville. Winds flattened homes and wiped out parts of a big manufacturing plant in the city about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta. Pieces of insulation dangled from trees and power poles. A bank lost a big chunk of its roof.
Here are a couple YouTube videos showing footage of the funnel cloud itself:
Anthony Raines, 51, was killed when a tree crashed down on his mobile home, crushing him on his bed, Bartow County Coroner Joel Guyton said. Nine other people were hospitalized for minor injuries, authorities said.
Elsewhere, one other death was reported in Tennessee when an uprooted tree fell onto a storage shed where a man had taken shelter.
Near Adairsville, the storms tossed vehicles on Interstate 75 onto their roofs, forcing the route to close for a time.
“The sky was swirling,” said Theresa Chitwood, who owns the Adairsville Travel Plaza.
A shelter was set up at a recreation center as temperatures plummeted to the 30s and 40s overnight and people had no heat or power. Georgia Power said some 9,600 customers were still without power Thursday morning, 2,500 of them in the state’s hard-hit northwest corner. That was down from about 14,000 without power in Georgia a day earlier.
Around the Southeast, meanwhile, authorities were investigating several reports of twisters from the system that had raked Missouri and Arkansas on Tuesday before heading eastward. Some tornado watches remained in effect early Thursday along Virginia’s coast as the storm headed off.
In Tennessee, officials confirmed that a tornado with peak winds of 115 mph touched down in Mount Juliet. No serious injuries were reported even though the path of damage was about 150 yards wide. At least six other tornadoes were reported statewide. At a shopping center in Mount Juliet, large sheets of metal littered the parking lot and light poles were knocked down. One wall of a Dollar General store collapsed, and the roof was torn off.
Deaths from the latest storm ended the nation’s longest break between tornado fatalities since detailed records began being kept in 1950, according to the Storm Prediction Center and National Climatic Data Center. The last one was June 24 in Florida. That was 220 days ago as of Tuesday.
The last day with multiple fatalities was June 4, when three people were killed in Missouri.