Authorities believe a tornado swelled to 900 yards wide -- more than four times the width of the Georgia Dome -- as it tore across northwest Georgia for nearly 22 miles. National Weather Service officials said the Wednesday twister had an estimated peak wind speed of 160 mph when it slammed into Adairsville.
Authorities say the storm that has slammed a Georgia town has killed at least one person there. The massive storm system also has been blamed for the death of a man in Tennessee. He had been taking shelter in a shed when a tree toppled onto it, killing him.
City officials in Gainesville have approved demolition of a building at the site of one of the nation's deadliest tornadoes 76 years ago. A local architect says human remains might still be buried there, and he says an archaeological investigation is needed. The Times of Gainesville reports that several factory workers were killed when the tornado tore through the town on April 6, 1936.
The Paulding Northwest Regional Airport is closed indefinitely after severe weather mangled 19 aircraft and left the hangar in shreds. Meanwhile, students are expected to return to Poole Elementary School Monday, where part of the roof was ripped off and a wall was damaged when the twister swept through Friday night.
Preliminary numbers from the National Weather Service show 95 tornadoes nationwide in January alone. Compare that to 16 last year, including twisters spawned by storms walloping north Georgia, and a three-year January average of just 12 storms. But meteorologists say lots of activity early in the year doesn’t mean much.
A tornado watch covered several counties in western and central Georgia as storms moved into the state from Alabama. Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatright said there were about 750 customers with storm-related outages statewide early Monday, about 400 of them in northwest Georgia.