Storm damage costs hit $40 million

“I want to remind everyone that these are very preliminary numbers,” Ralph Hudgens said in a statement. “It takes many weeks for both the insurers and insureds to fully assess the extent of the damage from the storm. The insurance companies will continue to report information to us over the next few weeks.”

An EF-3 tornado with wind speeds up to 165 mph cut a 29-mile path of destruction through Haralson and Paulding counties, west of Atlanta, the National Weather Service previously confirmed. A second, EF-1 tornado with winds estimated at 100 mph was on the ground for a mile in east Cobb County, the Weather Service said.

Among the hardest hit areas was Paulding County. Fourteen homes were destroyed and dozens others were damaged in the storm, which also ripped off part of an elementary school and tore through a small church.

Damage at the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport is expected to reach at least $7 million, according to Blake Swafford, airport director.

Eighteen of the 23 planes housed at the airport, including a a Citation business jet worth $1.2 million, were destroyed in the storm, Swafford said. Due to the unsafe condition of the airport's hangar, investigators have not yet been able to determine the conditions of some planes inside, he said.

The airport's terminal building was also damaged, along with fences and light posts, Swafford said.

David Austin, chairman of the Paulding County Commission, said Monday afternoon that he has declared a state of emergency. But the county likely won't be eligible for state or federal funding because most of the damage affected private structures, Austin said.

The storm was blamed for one death in metro Atlanta. An 83-year-old Alpharetta woman died after apparently climbing into a drain pipe for shelter, police said.

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