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. harriet

    Not so sure why you think that is funny. If there is a tornado warning, you won't catch me driving around. Since there has been a tornado watch on for ages, if you are going to go out and drive, you need to make it your business to call and find out! I was once driving a long way from home and heard there was bad weather – I didn't want to stop and get off the road for a tornado watch (not a warning) so I called a few people who were are home, told them my route and asked them to call me if there was an actual warning where I was. Worked pretty well, and there was a tornado touched down about 45 miles from us, but we knew about it.

    People need to take responsibility for their own safety. If the weather service says tornadoes are coming – which they started saying last night – then YOU on the roads need to keep on top of it.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tb63


    January 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Petercha

    Good point.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. shan

    Good bless you all! I hope everyone is okay in Georgia!! my prayers are with you !!

    January 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. n222s

    Hatred is in full display, today. When so many of you on the left display a sense of satisfaction and pleasure over people losing their lives, homes and places of business, would you call that love or hate? Here's the truth; you speak of tolerance and love but should someone dare to disagree, you hope they are killed or maimed. How far is it till you decide to help nature along in the death and destruction? After all, these people don't matter. They vote Republican, or like to hunt or believe in God. It isn't that you simply view them as being wrong. You actively wish for their destruction.

    But I forget. You are superior to the people who will rush to the aid of their fellow Georgians. You are better than those who will make sure their fellow Georgians have a place to sleep or food to eat. You, the superior liberal, will simply hope things get worse for them. How enlightened of you!

    January 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly is a Hole

      I voted for Obama and I am in Barnegat NJ cleaning up after Sandy.

      What have you given your fellow man?

      January 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abby Normal

      There are no true progressives who consider themselves "liberal" any more. They are as hateful and vitriolic as the people they imagine they are against. It's quite sad to see both sides just crumbling....

      January 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fiona

    I don't understand why so many people would be out driving if a tornafdo was likely. I'd stay inside in such weather, probably at home.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. queenbee9

    "This is a rotating thunderstorm right in front of us here in Adairsville..." Naw man, that is a tornado or if you are in the original tornado alley, it's called a TWISTER.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • JADMAN

      So a Hurricane is a Tornado?


      January 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. queenbee9

    we may have had tornadoes prior to global warming, but we did not see many (any) until a few years ago in places like California, TN and Georgia–that has only been happening on a continual/recurring basis for about the past 10 years.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • lz

      i grew up in Marietta Georgia...in the 60s and 70s...we had them then...this is not a new phenom

      January 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • JADMAN

      Not remotely true.

      Do you think weather is magic?

      January 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carol in SC

    So much hate on here toward the south. I have one thing next time you are eating think about the dumb southern person who put most of that food on your table. God Bless the South!! We will help each other like we have always done, not to mention how many of us came to NJ to help with Sandy. EAT YOUR WORDS

    January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      Carol, whenever there is an earthquake in CA we read the southern Christians bleating about God and Gays and Clint Eastwood, so I think some folks are just having a bit of fun.

      The South is an easy target having just allowed non-whites to vote starting in 2010. Throw in a closet-gay-Senator named Lindsey who calls the 1st lady a murderer, a federal judge who advocates taking guns to the street to overthrow the Union, and 3 senators who think raping women is good, and well ... you're going to get some feedback.

      January 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Glenn

    Stunned that most people don't know North Georgia is mostly transplants . I know very few natives . I myself am from Connecticut .

    January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philly girl

    Well said. All the republicans on this site crying hate are truly amazing. They certainly had plenty of hate for NJ. I guess they don't like when the shoe is on the other foot.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tb63

    I stopped reading right after "politics on ANY AND EVERY SUBJECT." Couldn't agree more about that.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CB in WA State

    Good luck. I hope you and yours stay safe.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Southern Guy

    Wonder why so many from the north are moving to the great state of Georgia? Making it once again the number one state in the country that people are moving to.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • midranger

      Most are 2nd generation southerners going back home now all the good unskilled jobs are gone in the north.

      January 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobmacadowasthebest

      Not just Ga.,,,people retiring from large city's like LA, New York are retiring on $40,000 and more a year ,,they can come to the south and live like kings and queens..with no mortgage payments.

      January 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JADMAN

      Midranger – there are plenty of dolts like you in the North.

      Why so threatened by your fellow Americans?

      January 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Southerner

    I personally know many people who took vacation days from their jobs to go to NY and NJ to help clean up and provide assistance to those in need following Hurricane Sandy. We did not sit idly by.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
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