UPDATE: 3 members of one family killed as 15 tornadoes pound Georgia

April 13, 2020 Chatsworth: Survivors and family friends dig through the remains of Deer Park trailer park after a deadly tornado killed at least 7 in Murray County on Monday, April 12, 2020, in Chatsworth.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

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April 13, 2020 Chatsworth: Survivors and family friends dig through the remains of Deer Park trailer park after a deadly tornado killed at least 7 in Murray County on Monday, April 12, 2020, in Chatsworth. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

At least 15 tornadoes touched down in Georgia, with the most powerful twister hitting Upson County, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.

Eight people in North Georgia died in the storms, which rolled through late Sunday and into early Monday. Seven of those died in Murray County, where investigators believe an EF-2 tornado hit a mobile home community. The eighth person was killed in Bartow County by an EF-1 tornado, according to the NWS.

Investigators believe an EF-3 tornado, which typically has 136-165 mph winds, rolled through Upson and the Thomaston area, about 70 miles south of Atlanta. One house was picked up and dropped onto the street. But no injuries were reported in the area, Martha Anne McCarty, the county’s emergency management director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“That’s the good Lord looking after folks,” McCarty said Tuesday. “We have no injuries reported whatsoever. When I tell folks that we’re blessed, I mean it.”

Had the storm taken a different path about a quarter-mile away, it could have caused catastrophic damage to a heavily populated neighborhood, McCarty said.

It was a different story 160 miles north of Upson in Murray.

Three family members were among those in Murray who were killed, county Coroner Jason Gibson said Tuesday. Those killed were Rebecca Beck, 59; Deanna Zambrano, 20; Laquita Thomas, 63; Richard Irwin, 50; Wilber Brookshire, 79; Myrtle Brookshire, 75; and Wilber Brookshire Jr., 48, Gibson said.

In addition to those killed in Murray, 23 others were taken to various hospitals for treatment, according to Fire Chief Dewayne Bain.

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Personal items sit in front of what's left of a house that was damaged during Monday nights tornado on Trinity Road in Thomaston, GA. Monday, April 13, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Personal items sit in front of what's left of a house that was damaged during Monday nights tornado on Trinity Road in Thomaston, GA.  Monday, April 13, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Personal items sit in front of what's left of a house that was damaged during Monday nights tornado on Trinity Road in Thomaston, GA. Monday, April 13, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Statewide, the severe weather is blamed for 33 people being injured and 87 homes being destroyed, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. Another 133 homes suffered major damage and 582 had minor damage, GEMA said.

While most of metro Atlanta was spared the brunt of the storms, south Fulton County was hit by an EF0 tornado, according to investigators. Downed trees and power lines were the metro area’s biggest problems. By Tuesday, power had been restored to most Georgians.

 

Tornadoes also touched down in Dade, Habersham, Harris, Monroe, Putnam, Talbot, Stephens and Washington counties, according to the NWS. Four tornadoes were confirmed in Washington County

The forecast following the severe weather is much calmer, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said.

“For the next few days, no storms are in the forecast,” he said. “After that really crazy weather pattern that we saw, things are going to be nice and quiet for us straight through Friday. I’m not expecting any rain across North Georgia, just some cooler temperatures.”

The next chance of rain will come this weekend, Monahan said.

15 TORNADOES HIT GEORGIA

Tornado strength is measured by an enhanced F-scale rating from EF0 to EF5, which considers 28 different types of damage to structures and trees.

Bartow County: EF1

Dade County: EF1

Fulton County: EF0

Habersham County: EF1

Harris County: EF0

Monroe County: EF0

Murray County: EF2

Putnam County: EF1

Stephens County: EF1

Talbot County: EF0

Upson County: EF3

Washington County (4 tornadoes): EF1 was the strongest

Source: National Weather Service and Channel 2 Action News

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With seven people dead and 23 others injured in what is believed to be two tornadoes that hit adjacent mobile home communities in Murray County Sunday night, emergency personnel are now turning to recovery mode.