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. wtxl

    Anyone explain the DIRECT relation between a tornado hitting a town and the political system? I'm completely at a loss as to how the two are related other than someone who has too much hot air to blow. As far as aid is concerned, who cares where it came from? Even the tiniest amount helps. If you are very infuriated over government spending for those in need, then please by all means, go yourself and help those in need. If you won't, then why are you whining at the government doing something you refuse to do? Anyway, your political affiliation, those in congress, those in the senate, and our president have no effect on the nation's weather system, nor do they control where/when people are going to be during a disaster such as a tornado. So please quit the political train, as it has no tracks in this story what so ever.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tiffany

    Seriously, dude..........someone died.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Petercha

    I hope all the Southerners get all the federal aid they need.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ritmocojo

    You've obviously never experienced anything close to a disaster.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LovesHemp

    Well said, Pat.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alina77

    Those poor people.. What a scare...

    January 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jen T.

    Democrat here in Georgia from California – dems saying this is some way of punishing republicans sound just as bad as Republicans saying the same thing when earthquakes strike Cali..

    Apparently there's idiots on both sides. I'm not deserving of death and dismemberment any more or less than anyone else. Really sad that people as a whole can't look out for and hope for best for people as a whole...

    January 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly girl

      Well, that's all very nice and kindhearted but history shows, unfortunately, that it doesn't work that way. Those that get refuse to give and only want to get more.

      January 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly is a Hole

      Philly Girl – I live near Philly and it is full of useless people.

      Cast a stone – I will throw it right back.

      See? Idiocy knows no boundary.

      January 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abby Normal

      Both sides are equally as idiotic.

      January 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. YouAreIgnorant

    You are ignorant to make such a comment about people solely relying on the government for care and protection during these trying times. I am a resident of Bartow County and live about 12 miles from Adairsville. When the same system that caused devastation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama hit Bartow two years ago and created what can only be synonymous with a warzone, community members did not hesitate to lift a hand or lend a chain saw to help those in need. Schools and churches were overflowing with donations of clothing, bottled water, food, and every possible thing a survivor could need. When FEMA stepped, they were amazed at how quickly the community had rallied to provide support, and they actually later met with county and city officials to determine how they were able to organize so efficiently and effectively. I can only imagine that the response will be the same this time, with neighbors as well as first responders working in shifts until the job is complete. Before you speak about such things, know your facts.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    Shame on the haters posting in here! This is about the suffering of human beings so why would you make this a political issue? My prayers are with the southernors suffering. And a special prayer for bobcat. And God bless you also @ Gayle, stay safe.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petercha

      Amen, Chrissy. This world needs lots more nice folks like you.

      January 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mrl

    yeah – we didn't have tornado's and stuff before cars and factories were built.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rockybopper

    Surreal. I just moved away from there. I hope people stay safe.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Raymond

    What dumb thing to say....think about the victims idiot.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vince

    Both GA senators voted no for Sandy relief. Fend for yourselves....Love, NJ

    January 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly girl

      They don't know how.

      January 30, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • perkdaddy173

      I remember my little GA village raising almost 25k and tons of materials for immediate Sandy relief while congress turned it into a giant politics game, because unlike you, we dont hate anyone based on where they live or what has happened to them, except maybe those dirty punks across that work in the circus, whats their names again, clowns, that's right, clowns. We (and by we I mean ME) really dont like them. /sarcasm.

      January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly is a Hole

      You are just too stupid PG ...

      I am up here in NJ (from Texas) to assist with the cleanup of Hurricane Sandy.

      I am off today, but I decided to volunteer up here. My and my uncle drove up in December.

      I am with TAFI in Barnegat if you want to chip in and help

      January 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abby Normal

      Most of the people helping you dig out from your little thunder shower are from the south and midwest. So....

      January 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Peter

    SOMETHING is going on.

    Natural? Man encouraged? A little of each? A lot of one, a little of another?

    SOMETHING is going on.

    But good luck on getting a straight story. There is a lot of money to be made no BOTH sides of the argument so, just like cigarette advertising in the 1950s, some doctors will be paid off to say whatever they need to. Remember "more doctors say Camels are harmless blah blah blah.....". Ha!

    January 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Petercha

    Good point, Rick.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
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