Storms move through area; F1 tornado hits Ellaville
Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017
AMERICUS and ELLAVILLE — Trees were blown over and power lines dragged down as a severe thunderstorm system moved through the area between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Monday. Lightning struck a home in north Americus, resulting in a fire, and an F1 tornado caused extensive damage in Ellaville and portions of rural Schley County.
Most of south and central west Georgia had been under a severe thunderstorm watch Monday morning and a tornado warning was issued for this area around 12:30 p.m., until 1 p.m. after a storm with rotation was spotted on radar in northern Webster County, moving northeast at 50 mph.
Shortly after 1 p.m. a video appeared on Facebook showing a funnel cloud between Buena Vista and Ellaville. That tornado plowed down trees in rural Schley County before striking the city of Ellaville.
Schley County Manager Bill Sawyer said the tornado “hit a good portion of the city,” taking down hundreds of trees and damaging “a countless number of houses.” Power was restored in the county late Monday night, he said, while MEAG was still working at mid-day Tuesday to restore power to the city of Ellaville customers.
Sawyer said the water system was working and all the roads were open Tuesday, “so people can get through to help,” he said. He said some people from Sumter County had already visited earlier in the day bringing water and food, “which we very much appreciate.” When asked what the residents of Schley County and Ellaville need, he said, “prayers.” He said he had been fielding phone calls from all over and that state Rep. Bill McGowan, D-Americus, and state Sen Greg Kirk, R-Americus, had both called to check on the local citizens. No deaths or injuries were reported. All roads leading into Ellaville were blocked to traffic Monday afternoon.
Sawyer said officials from the National Weather Service in Atlanta had visited Ellaville early Tuesday and met with local officials, not only about what damages had already occurred, about what to expect on Wednesday with another storm system expected to move through the area.
“The city and county will persevere,” Sawyer told the Times-Recorder, “but if it hits tomorrow (Wednesday) like the model says, it could set us back considerably.”
Meanwhile, in Sumter County, trees and power lines were blown down and a tractor-trailer truck flipped over in its side in Plains, according to Sumter County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy, Col. Eric Bryant. He said a barn roof was blown off on a farm just off Ga. Highway 30 West near the Friendship community.
A large pine tree fell onto the rear portion of a house on Mallon Road. Trees were down all around the Lake Collins area. Cable and power lines were also down in that area as well as on Douglas Circle, Ridge Street, Sharon Drive, Horton Drive, Mary and Washington streets, and Pine Avenue.
Lightning struck a house on Hosanna Circle at its intersection with Lilly Lane, resulting in a fire in the rear of the structure. Americus Fire & Emergency S
ervices were on the scene within minutes. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished.