Cara Hackett

Weekend storm slams north Florida and south Georgia

Cara Hackett
Weekend storm slams north Florida and south Georgia

A series of severe thunderstorms made its way through Tallahassee late Saturday night into Sunday afternoon leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Damaged trees, heavy rains and downed power lines left at least 30,000 residents without electricity. 

Across the region, several weather alerts were issued, warning residents of the looming storm system. “The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of Florida at high risk of severe storms through this evening,” said State Meteorologist Amy Godsey in a press release from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. 

Tallahassee and its surrounding counties were under tornado watch on Sunday and sustained high speed winds of 55 mph.

“Residents, visitors and businesses should monitor this weather system and be prepared to act if warnings are issued. Receiving one alert of an oncoming tornado or severe weather outbreak can save lives,” urged Emergency Management. 

The City of Tallahassee worked to remove debri and restore power to its customers throughout the week. As of Friday, the City had no reported outages and blocked roads were cleared. Citizens were routinely updated through social media, emails and text alerts about ongoing storm recovery efforts. 

All Leon County Schools and government offices have resumed regular business hours and operations.

While there were no reported weather related fatalities in Tallahassee, the storms turned deadly in southern Georgia as a tornado outbreak killed 16 people and injured at least 40. The EF3 tornado reached winds of 150 mph and traveled over 70 miles, according to the National Weather Service. 

“I actually feared for my life,”Joshua Stafford, a junior exercise physiology student at Valdosta State University, said who was driving home during the storm. 

“Tree branches were hitting my car and the wind was blowing sideways pushing my car. But luckily I made it home safe,” Stafford said.

Stafford continued with an account of his mother’s experience in Albany, GA, one of the hardest hit areas. His mother was attending a religious convention when she had to evacuate into safer area at the Civic Center.

“She told me that while she was [in a small hallway] it felt like a movie scene. Lights were flickering and she knew the tornado was going over her.”

The severe weather was a part of string of thunderstorms and tornadoes that spanned from Texas to Florida. 21 total deaths have been confirmed with more than 70 tornadoes throughout the South.