The latest string of storms to hit the South targeted western Georgia Sunday morning, with a likely tornado leaving several injured and causing significant property damage.
This comes after 24 hours when President Joe Biden approved federal funding for the natural disaster relief in the state of Mississippi. The was hit with tornados after that left 26 people dead.
In LaGrange, Georgia, about 65 miles southwest of Atlanta, a likely tornado was picked up on radar around 7 a.m. EDT, with the storm reported to have been moving east at 40 mph. An hour later, multiple injuries were already being reported from the storm by local emergency management, with other reports coming in regarding destroyed homes in the area.
Troup County Manager Eric Mosley said the county responded to calls of people trapped after the likely tornado hit and calls for trees falling on houses. Mosley also told The LaGrange News that several sheriff’s deputies’ vehicles suffered damaged windshields from hail that accompanied the storm. “We’re getting multiple calls through our 911 departments,” Mosley said. “We are responding with fire rescue resources, the sheriff’s office … to some damage.”
The likely tornado caused a closure of parts of Interstate 85 and Highway 185 in the area, with video captured from Interstate 85 showing a bevy of downed trees along the roadside.
“We are receiving MULTIPLE reports of trees down, damage on houses and power lines down,” Troup County Sheriff’s spokesperson said in a statement. “If you do not have to get on the roads this morning please do not travel.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency following the tornado disasters after they blew through Troup and Baldwin counties that activated Georgia state personal for search and rescue efforts.
“I have issued a State of Emergency order following the severe storms and tornadoes that struck this morning,” Gov. Kemp said in a statement on Twitter. “As we continue to monitor the weather and work with local partners to address damage throughout the day, I ask all Georgians to join us in praying for those impacted.”
In West Point, Georgia, about 15 miles northeast of LaGrange, there was a report of trapped individuals and collapsed houses Sunday morning after a likely tornado moved through the city. An unconfirmed report stated that the storm potentially hit a Kia vehicle assembly plant in West Point. Local fire authorities advised all crews to take shelter ahead of the storm. Red Cross Georgia opened a shelter in West Point at a local gym for those impacted by the storms.
A possible tornado was also picked up on radar Sunday morning in Milledgeville, Georgia, 120 miles east of LaGrange.
In Pine Mountain, Georgia, 20 miles southeast of LaGrange, local law enforcement reported that a tiger had escaped from Wild Animal Safari during the storms, asking residents to stay inside. The tiger had not been recovered as of 10 a.m. EDT Sunday.
The reports of possible tornadoes near the Georgia-Alabama border comes just two days after 20 tornado reports in western Mississippi and northern Alabama on Friday, including destructive twisters that killed at least 25 people.
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