Ga. tornado lifted homes off their foundations

An EF-2 tornado that injured seven people and caused property damage on Georgia’s coast reached peak winds of 130 mph, the National Weather Service said Friday afternoon.

Four homes were destroyed when the tornado ripped through the Stilson area of Bulloch about 4 a.m. Thursday.

The hardest hit areas were along Old River Road South and Lillie Hagan Road, officials said.

According to the NWS, two mobile homes just north of Little Hagan Road were completely destroyed and tossed 30 to 40 feet from their foundations.

One of the homes was not occupied, but the other one had five people inside and pets.

“All five were injured, one seriously, with broken bones in their neck,” the NWS said. One of the animals died from injuries sustained in the tornado.

About 400 miles southeast, two people and a pet were severely injured when another mobile home was lifted about 40 feet off its foundation.

One person was flown to a hospital in Savannah with serious injuries, and six others were driven to East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, public safety officials said in a Facebook post Thursday.

The tornado also forced Bulloch County school buses to stop service in the Old River Road and Lillie Hagan Road areas due to road blockages.

Roads are clear now, said Ted Wynn, director of the Bulloch County Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency.

“Volunteer help is coming in to assist with any unmet needs of the families,” he said.

By the time the tornado hit Effingham County, it had weakened some, the NWS reported after observing damage mostly in the EF-1 range of 86 to 110 mph winds.

Still, the tornado snapped hundreds of pine and oak trees, destroyed homes and carports, and knocked down power lines.

The recent storm damage comes less than three weeks after an EF-3 tornado hit Albany and other parts of South Georgia, caused more than $100 million in damage and killed 16 people.