Georgia tornado leaves several injured as Southern storms continue
More dangerous severe storms rumbled across the South on Sunday morning, with a likely tornado striking the western part of Georgia and causing significant property damage.
AccuWeather forecasters say severe thunderstorms will produce large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes from Louisiana to South Carolina Sunday into Sunday night.
The latest string of storms to hit the South targeted western Georgia Sunday morning, with a EF3 strength tornado leaving several injured and causing significant property damage.
In LaGrange, Georgia, about 65 miles southwest of Atlanta, a 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. WSB-TV reported Monday that five people were hurt in the storm.
A spokesperson for the Troup County Sheriff's Office told WTVM that anywhere between 80 and 100 structures were damaged, with around 30 of them sustaining major damage.
The National Weather Service confirmed that the Troup County tornado was an EF3 rating Monday, with peak winds of 150 mph.
Troup County Manager Eric Mosley said the county responded to calls of people trapped after the 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 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.
In West Point, Georgia, about 15 miles southwest of LaGrange, there was a report of trapped individuals and collapsed houses Sunday morning after a reported tornado moved through the city. 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.
Radar picked up a likely tornado that hit LaGrange, Georgia, on Sunday morning, leaving several injured and causing significant property damage. (AccuWeather)
A possible tornado was also picked up on radar Sunday morning in Milledgeville, Georgia, 120 miles east of LaGrange. The storm left extensive structural damage to a local hospital, with parts of the facility's roof ripped off. Mass power outages were also reported in the area in the storm's wake.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency early Sunday afternoon following the storms, allowing the state to bring in any additional resources needed for recovery efforts. Kemp toured the damage in Troup County on Monday afternoon.
Severe storm damage on Interstate 85 in LaGrange, Georgia, on March 26, 2023. (Twitter/@bourntocreate)
In Pine Mountain, Georgia, 20 miles southeast of LaGrange, two tigers briefly escaped Pine Mountain Safari during the storms, with both tigers found and safely returned to their enclosure early Sunday afternoon. Local law enforcement asked residents to stay inside when the animals were first reported as missing.
The reports of possible tornadoes near the Georgia-Alabama border occurred just two days after destructive twisters killed at least 25 people in Mississippi.
Radar depiction of rain and thunderstorms in the Southeast early Monday morning. (AccuWeather)
Heading into Monday, the threat of severe thunderstorms is set to continue, even if the coverage of them is a bit more isolated. Already early Monday morning, a swath of intense thunderstorms was stretched from Alabama to the Carolinas.
Throughout the day, isolated thunderstorms may bring a threat of hail, damaging wind gusts and perhaps even a tornado. The most threatened area will stretch from far southern Alabama to coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
Cities such as Pensacola, Florida, Macon, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina are included in this region.
Correction: This article previously misstated the location of West Point, Georgia. The city is located to the southwest of LaGrange, Georgia, not to the northeast.
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