January 30th, 2013
05:13 PM ET

State of emergency declared in 2 Georgia counties after tornado strikes

[Update 5:13 p.m. ET] The storm system has settled down from severe levels as it moves east into the Carolinas. Further updates on Wednesday's weather and its aftermath will appear at this link.

[Update 4:48 p.m. ET] All tornado warnings in the Southeast have expired, the National Weather Service says.

[Update 4:43 p.m. ET] Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in Bartow and Gordon counties, where a tornado caused heavy damage earlier today. The declaration makes state resources immediately available to the two counties, Deal said.

[Update 4:17 p.m. ET] Tornado warnings are currently in effect in these counties:

In Georgia: Crawford, Lamar, Lee, Monroe, Talbot, Taylor, Terrell, Upson
In South Carolina: Greenville, Oconee, Pickens
In North Carolina: Transylvania

[Updated 4:04 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until 9:30 p.m. for Transylvania County, North Carolina, as the storm system pushes east. The service said 3 to 4 inches of rain had already fallen in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, with an additional 1 to 2 inches - and perhaps 5 inches - expected through the evening.

[Updated 3:19 p.m. ET] High school student Matt Davis was home sick from school today, so he and his father went to see the damage from severe storms that rolled through Gallatin, Tennessee, overnight. He sent images to CNN iReport.

"That's right at the front of my neighborhood," Davis, 16, said. "As soon as you turn down one street, it looks like the trees got shredded to pieces. It looks like there's a lane of trees that got torn out. The back of the neighborhood looks like nothing happened," he said.

Nearby, the Fairview Plantation, a historic farm, was heavily damaged, Davis said.

"The plantation was a horse farm. Those (buildings) have been standing there for 100 to 200 years," he said. "It was sad to see those collapsed and caved in."

Weather damage in your area? If you can do so safely, send photos or video to iReport.

[Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET] There has been another reported tornado in Mountaintown, Georgia, in Gilmer County, according to the National Weather Service, which now has a tornado watch in effect till 8 p.m. for more than 80 Georgia counties.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET] CNN's Mallory Simon reports that several flights out of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International are canceled, including to airports in North Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama. Other flights are delayed, including flights to airports in Washington and Virginia, she said.

[Updated at 2:08 p.m. ET] We now have footage of various storm damage in Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET] Gail Ralston with Adairsville Towing and Automotive told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at about 1 p.m. that power is off throughout Adairsville. Motorists were calling for help, but officials were allowing only emergency personnel in the area near where the twister struck, she told the paper.

[Updated at 1:59 p.m. ET] An unidentified truck driver wearing the name tag that reads "Travis" tells CNN affiliate WGCL-TV that he saw cars being thrown in the air before the truck he was driving got flipped on its side. Two firefighters extracted him from the truck, and he said he feels lucky to be alive.

[Updated 1:54 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service is reporting that tornadoes have struck in Indiana and Kentucky.

[Updated at 1:51 p.m. ET] Meteorologists keep citing "bow echoes" in their storm reporting. Curious what it means. The National Weather Service has an explanation here.

[Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET] Kennesaw, Georgia, police are asking that people stay away from Adairsville as officials search for storm victims.

[tweet https://twitter.com/KennesawPolice/status/296684830064787456%5D

[Posted at 1:36 p.m. ET] There is at least one storm-related death, and numerous cars are overturned on Interstate 75 after a tornado struck Adairsville, Georgia, the National Weather Service reported.

The twister touched down before noon in the city of about 4,600 located roughly midway between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the weather service reported, adding that two other tornadoes were reported in the region - one in east Lindale, another in southeast Calhoun.

Numerous buildings, some with people inside, were damaged in northern Bartow County after a tornado touched down Wednesday morning. One person is dead, and officials believe it's the result of a building collapsing, Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap said.

[tweet https://twitter.com/wsbtv/status/296661060323266560%5D

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution further reported that "dozens" of vehicles were overturned on I-75 in Bartow, and local news reports aired images of scores of cars stopped on the highway. The paper also the tornado leveled a large manufacturing plant in Adiarsville.

All lanes of 75, both northbound and southbound, were blocked at milepost 306 in Georgia, the state's Department of Transportation reported.

Meanwhile, Georgia Power says its reports of outages have been "fairly light."

[tweet https://twitter.com/GeorgiaPower/status/296682432885829633%5D

A reporter for CNN affiliate WSB-TV said he saw the tornado form as he arrived in Adairsville on Wednesday morning. At least one home was leveled, and cars were flipped over, the station reported.

Bartow County police and fire dispatchers told the Journal-Constitution there were injuries and numerous calls of trauma in and around Adairsville before 11:30 a.m. ET, and one call to the fire department reported that a building in Adiairsville was ablaze and five people were trapped inside.

The paper further reported one call involved an overturned car with someone inside. Many roads in the area are impassable, the paper said.

In the north Georgia, there were reports of winds between 20 and 40 mph, with gusts of 35 to 50 mph, the weather service reported.

In Nashville, Tennessee, a man told CNN affiliate WTVF that his wife's uncle was killed when a tree fell on a shed about 3 a.m. Tornado warnings were issued in Middle Tennessee overnight, and CNN affiliate WKRN reported that a possible tornado touched down in Mt. Juliet.

WKRN also reported an overturned 18-wheeler, brush fires, roof damage and trees down in the Mt. Juliet area.

There were also reports of storm damage overnight or Wednesday morning in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana and Kentucky.

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Filed under: Weather
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Erik Bush

    I live in Adairsville. We had a lot of damage. Local bank was damaged, cars flipped over, and among other things there is a large manufacturing plant was flattened.

    January 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • julia

      My grandmother lives in the apartments right behind downtown. I believe on chesnut st. Does anyone know if they were hit? I can't get a hold of her or her neighbor. Please help me if you know something? I am in ringgold.

      January 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik Bush

      There are lots of powerlines down and trees. Also a lot of cell phone calls are being dropped in the area. From what I understand the damage was mostly on HWY 140

      January 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotSoSure

      Julia, hope your grandmother is OK and has no related storm damage!

      January 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • davidwCNN

      Thanks for the update. Did you have any damage to your home or property?
      Also, I hope your grandmother is okay Julia.
      Please update us here in the comments when you hear from her.

      January 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Storm Guru

    Somebody needs to tell that idiot CNN weatherman that you cannot rate a tornado as an EF2 just by looking at the tornado. Those ratings are determined by wind speeds that are derived by damage assessment after the tornado has passed. The physical size of a tornado has nothing to do with the EF rating.

    January 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RalphS

    Just awful, hope the best for folks affected. The second year in a row with significant winter tornadoes. Usually a rare occurrence.

    January 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mm

    Normally, the area N/NE of Atlanta rarely gets tornadoes because the increase in elevation towards the mountains usually disrupts the lower unsettled air. That being said...I wish the people of GA well, and we are further to the east in the storms' path. I just battened down the hatches.

    January 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • nashvilledeb

      What a bunch of hooey. The mountains around Georgia have nothing to do with the development or movement of storms. Tornadoes can and do happen anywhere at any time in any terrain or any part of the country.

      January 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ML

      I grew up in Bartow County, own land in Adarisville still. Tornado season always started in March or early April, and climate change has just pushed it earlier. That area is actually north-west of ATL – straight up I-75. We used to believe the myth about mountains stopping tornadoes, but one – they do not; and two – Bartow County straddles a wide valley that runs west of Pine Log Mountain.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Promotewho - Atlanta Music Promoter

    be careful- look out for your elderly neighbors... maybe they don't know about the weather...

    January 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JP

    watch out North Carolina! typically we get in CHarlotte what comes thru Atlanta heading NE

    January 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Promotewho - Atlanta Music Promoter

    look out for your elderly neighbors... maybe they don't know about the weather... make sure they are ok.

    January 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Boo

    Sorry dude....can't go along with that...the citizens shouldn't suffer just because they are clueless and voted for the wrong representatives...

    January 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    Please proofread these stories before trying to be the first to report 'breaking news'

    January 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ann

    Praying for everyone's safety!

    January 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petercha

      Same here, Ann. I wish everyone posting in here was as kind-hearted as you are.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I won't be so critical of these people affected by this tornado in Georgia. I'd like to pray for them and wish them well simply because that is what President Obama would do. He'd ask for federal aid if needed and he'd pray for the victims and wish them well. If we liberals were to follow our President's lead, then perhaps conservatives would eventually change their hating ways and America as a whole would be a kinder and gentler nation. My prayers are with you Georgians.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petercha

      Given the posts in here, I'd say it was the liberals that have the hating ways.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Carol in SC


    January 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Yamadog

    Em Georgia girls have the prettiest Southern accents. They are real cool.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PeteK

    More government assistance? How will it be paid? $60 billion was just authorized for Sandy relief. I understand that natural disasters happen and the victims need to be helped, but the money needs to come from somewhere. We can't continue to run $1 trillion yearly deficits. There's also a piece of legislature called PAYGO that basically states any spending increase must be offset by matching spending cuts or a source of revenue. How come the media never reports on that? All I usually hear is the Republicans this or the Democrats that. It's a shame that we've become a nation of complainers, with no accountability and only looking to shift blame.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • davidwCNN

      There will be plenty of time later to debate how any disaster aid is funded, if it is needed. Right now there are a lot of people who are just trying to find out whether their loved ones and homes are safe.
      Let's try to focus on that.

      January 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NotSoSure

    Too funny! I'll not be driving home this evening then. Eventually a tornado may arrive in Tampa. I75 is an interstate where people traveling may not have access to current weather conditions!

    January 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
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