At least 5 tornadoes confirmed in Georgia during storms last week, NWS says

Biden approves federal disaster aid

At least five tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down during the powerful storms that impacted metro Atlanta and North Georgia last week, the National Weather Service said Monday.

The storms, which prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to declare a state of emergency, left tens of thousands of Georgia residents without power and dozens without homes. At least two people died, including a 5-year-old boy in Butts County and a Georgia DOT employee during storm cleanup in Walker County.

On Monday, President Joe Biden approved a federal disaster declaration in Georgia, freeing up funding for residents affected by the storms in Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Spalding and Troup counties.

Four tornadoes were previously confirmed by the NWS Friday to have touched down, but the agency added another one Monday as it continues to compile information.

“The total number of tornadoes with completed surveys below stands at 5, with more to be added,” the NWS said in a statement listing the agency’s storm details.

The first tornado, an EF2, was tracked around 3 p.m. Thursday from Alabama to Troup County, where it snapped trees along West Point Lake, and caused damage to shingles and gutters for a few homes, according to the NWS. The tornado traveled east through mostly wooded areas and dissipated along Cameron Mill Road.

A brief EF1 tornado later touched down in Cobb County around 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of Oak Ridge Road and Oak Ridge Parkway. It immediately caused damage to an 18 Wheeler Truck Parts & Chrome building in Austell, which saw a wall collapse.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

“A door was open on the back side of the building, providing a failure point as tornado winds entered the building,” the NWS said.

At least 50 homes were damaged in Austell, of which 16 were destroyed or had significant damage, said Cobb County Communications Director Ross Cavitt last week. The tornado had peak winds of 110 mph, which uprooted trees and lifted them onto homes, according to the NWS. It lasted about three minutes and traveled 1.5 miles.

A long-track and powerful EF2 tornado was later reported around 3:45 p.m. southeast of LaGrange along the Troup and Meriwether County line, according to the NWS. The twister snapped or uprooted more than 1,000 trees before reaching max winds of 120 mph as it approached a home on Forrest Road. It destroyed several homes as it traveled east-northeast, including one on Ground Hog Drive that broke in half and shifted 20 yards off its foundation, the NWS said. The tornado eventually crossed into the southwest tip of Spalding County as maximum winds decreased to 80 mph. It lifted about a quarter-mile north of the Pike and Spalding County line.

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

The fourth tornado, an EF1, was confirmed in southwest Spalding County around 4:20 p.m. The tornado spun up near the Pike and Spalding county line before continuing east-northeast. It had max winds of 90 mph and traveled more than 3.5 miles.

“It was as this tornado and the other circulation came together the overall intensity peaked over and to the northeast of the Kendall Drive area along Hwy-16 west of Griffin, which ultimately became the longer track tornado which tracked through Griffin,” the NWS reported.

The final tornado, an EF1, was reported around 4:30 p.m. in Warren County. The tornado traveled from Camak to an area west of Thomson in McDuffie County. As the tornado crossed the county line to Foster Sprouse Road, it damaged the roofs of homes, and uprooted trees. The tornado weakened as it entered Union Church Road and dissipated before crossing into West Bypass, the NWS said. It had max winds of 110 mph and traveled more than five miles.