More than a dozen people woke up without a home this morning in Glascock County, where a line of thunderstorms ripped through the area. This right here used to be Magnolia Baptist Church. All the way over there is its steeple.
After assessing all the destruction around Glascock County, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado touched down in Gibson.
"This is a smaller type tornado," said Kent Frantz, incident meteorologist for the NWS. "This is what we typically do have in Georgia."
But this "smaller type tornado" made some major damage; ripping across the area with wind speeds up to 100 miles per hour. NWS says the tornado's path ran 3 ¼ of a mile, causing 150 yards of damage. Though no one was injured, three mobile homes were hit. One home, completely removed from its foundation. Another home with an uprooted tree toppled over it. The third suffered roof and window damage. But the most damage was done to the church.
"Here at the church, it seems to have
had the opportunity to spin up to its maximum potential, and cause the damage
that you see behind me," Frantz said.
Now a pile of bricks and broken glass, shredded pieces of wood and scraps of metal. What was once the church's fellowship hall, is now a pile of debris.
"To have this little church just blown
apart by a wind of some sort…it's just…heartbreaking," said Michael Stewart, pastor of Magnolia Baptist Church.
More than 20 residents in the area were without power last night. And now, the American Red Cross is helping families affected by the storm.
UPDATE: The National Weather Service confirms a EF1 tornado touched down in Gibson on Tuesday night. Officials say winds in that storm reached 100mph. The NWS used damage to the Magnolia Baptist Church as a way to determine the size of the storm.
The storm left a path of damage estimated at 150 yards wide. The National Weather Service says the tornado did not register on their radar, in Peachtree City. They say the storms that moved through the area Tuesday were low level and fast moving.
Community volunteers will be meeting at the Magnolia Baptist Church on Saturday morning at 8am to begin the clean up process. Anyone interested in assisting in the clean up is asked to meet at the church on Saturday morning.
The Glascock County Emergency Management Agency is on scene assessing the damage from Tuesday evening's storms.
The Magnolia Baptist Church, located on Magnolia Church Road, was significantly damaged. The fellowship hall collapsed and the roof of the church, including the church's steeple, was blown off. At least three homes in the county were also damaged by the storm. Reports say 22 Glascock County residents were without power at the height of the storm.
A temporary shelter was opened in Gibson for residents affected by the storm. The American Red Cross is now assisting those storm victims.
A press conference is scheduled for 11:45 Wednesday morning in front of Magnolia Baptist Church to give updates on the storm and damage. FOX54 will be at that new conference and will be tweeting from that news conference with updates. We will also continue to update our website, wfxg.com, all day and will have more on the storm tonight on FOX54 News at 10pm.
The National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga. is fielding reports of severe thunderstorm damage in Glascock County.
FOX54 has learned from the on-call meteorologist that residents and businesses just north of Gibson, Ga, are reporting damage from wind.
Some of the reports coming in include reports that the roof and walls of the Magnolia Baptist Church have been blown down.
Other reports indicate multiple homes in the area have severe structural damage.
The National Weather Service is not confirming the damage is from a tornado at this time. Glascock County Emergency Management will evaluate the damage on Wednesday, and determine if an NWS crew is needed in the area to make an official evaluation.
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