Punishing winds, possible tornadoes inflict damage as storms cross US South
Jun 14, 2023, 1:12 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Damaging winds and possible tornadoes toppled trees, damaged buildings and blew cars off a highway Wednesday as powerful storms crossed the South from Texas to Georgia.
The National Weather Service issued numerous tornado warnings, mainly in southeast Alabama and southwest Georgia, and cautioned that gusts of hurricane-force winds exceeding 90 mph (145 kph) were possible in parts of northeast Louisiana and central Mississippi. Some areas also were pelted with large hail.
Forecasters said threats could persist into Thursday morning as storms crossed Georgia toward the Atlantic coast.
Two people escaped unharmed from a home that was destroyed Wednesday as storms raked rural southwest Georgia, Calhoun County Sheriff Josh Hilton said. He told WALB-TV the home in Quail County Plantation, near the county line with neighboring Early County, was demolished.
Video posted on social media showed a large funnel cloud churning on the horizon near the rural city of Blakely, and officials in nearby communities reported downed trees and snapped power lines. Connie Hobbs, the elected commission chairman for neighboring Baker County, said hail stones up to golf-ball size rained down in her yard.
Tornado warnings were issued for southwest Georgia’s largest city, Albany, and surrounding Dougherty County on Wednesday afternoon. County government spokeswoman Wendy Howell said there had been no reports of significant damage or injuries.
“The big concern is flooding,” Howell said as rain hammered at windows Wednesday evening. “We’re such a flat area, and there’s already water standing” on and alongside the roads.
In Alabama, the Eufaula Police Department said confirmed tornado damage was reported in the city near the Georgia state line. Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs told WSFA-TV that no injuries were immediately reported, but the storm collapsed a wall of a building and downed 30 or 40 trees.
Local news outlets showed viewer-submitted video of a tornado rumbling through nearby Henry County, Alabama, and of roof damage in the area.
Sheriff Larry Rowe of Cass County in eastern Texas told KYTX-TV that some vehicles were blown off a highway Wednesday afternoon as the county was under a tornado warning. There were no immediate reports of injuries.