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. Jenna

    Abe–as a Georgia resident, all I can really say is bless your heart. My fellow southerners will know that was said with a sarcastic twang.

    Be safe, everyone.

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

      Thanks Jenna, that was kind. We need more love and less hate

      January 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowan

      Stated like a true southern belle. I got a chuckle out of the "bless your heart" bit.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hepzibah

    I live in Georgia. The skies are blacken and looks like we are gonna have a tornado. Please pray for everybody down here.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol in SC

      Not far from Atlanta, we are praying for you all and us a well. God will be with us Hepzibah, forget the NE negative comments.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • imagonner

      From T-town, God Bless Ya'll. Watching that video brings back that horrible helplless feeling

      January 30, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steven

    Sorry not hurricane zone, tornado zone!

    January 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Glenn

    I'm in the area . You can feel round two coming . Warm thick air & cannon fire in the distance . Funny I never read about people in this area talking about gods punishment after Sandy hit . Some of you need to look in the mirror .

    January 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy in NYC

      Stay safe Glenn!

      January 30, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      Thanks Billy & best to you as well .

      January 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cathy56sprng

    Don't blame you one bit, it's appauling what these senators did to the folks in the northeast voting no when they so clearing need help. What goes around comes around. I live in TN now but am orginally from the Chicago area. Would never enter my head not to help others in need.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • JADMAN

      "Would never enter my head not to help others in need"

      "What goes around comes around."

      Make up your mind – you act righteous, then throw an entire population of PEOPLE under the bus for what?


      Shame on you.

      January 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TheMovieFan

    Well said!!!

    January 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carol in SC

    Thanks Gayle and God Bless you.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    And by dangerous weather locations, I assume you mean Earth. Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, tsunamis, etc. Since there are no "safe weather" locations, we should begin evacuating the Earth immediately.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Billy in NYC

    I'm from new york and sandy took my house, I have no idea when i will be able to rebuild (waiting on a lot of things) and i hope the people effected by this storm in the south get help as soon as possible and i hope the government comes to their aid asap. Stay strong and stay safe!

    January 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abby Normal

      You're a good man, Billy.

      January 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Miltonboy

    I would really be interested in where you think the non-dangerous weather areas are – free from tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, damaging winds, earthquake (natural, but not technically weather) and ice/snow. If you know a place, I'd buy up as much property as I can.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    Sounds rather selfish

    January 30, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Donna

    I can't even imagine – so very sad and scary. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stbbb

    My mother and a group from her Southern Baptist church in North Carolina spent all of last week in New Jersey sleeping on the floor and cooking meals for the other Southern Baptist volunteers who are cleaning mud out of houses. No strings attached, no cost to the residents they help, no government funding. There are more good people in the South than in any other area of the country.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dee

    I live in Kentucky and we consider ourselves southerners. We are as far "north" as we want to go!

    January 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sarah

    It used to be that the southeast didn't have to worry about these things. Climate change is real. Do people have anything to do with it? Jury's out. Will new laws, regulations, and restrictions ever have any potential to change anything? I haven't seen any evidence of it yet. Nevertheless, here we are. It used to be that things like this were just out in the western part of the US. These things didn't happen here. Those days are gone. In April 2010 and February 2011, the Metro-Chattanooga area learned that we are no longer immune these things things. Or, then again, maybe we had a false sense of security.

    I work with someone who said her relatives are fine, but there are still people trapped. Apparently, this was a bad one. Everyone please stop arguing about petty things and just pray for these folks.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
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