Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Tornado

The rain and hail from Saturday night was just a mild sprinkle when compared to the storm that came through about 5:15 this morning. We officially had two tornadoes hit the town, along with lots of other wind damage.

There are literally thousands and thousands of trees down...many on houses and cars. About 150 businesses were damaged, and probably thousands of homes damaged...some destroyed. Huge pines and oaks were snapped off by the estimated 130 mph winds.

Fortunately, my part of town wasn't hit too bad. There are a few down trees, but nothing like the west and south part of Macon. So far, only one confirmed fatality, which is a miracle when you look at all of the damage. A curfew is in place during the night hours tonight.

Of course, most of the power was out today. Georgia Power said about 60,000 customers lost power locally. The power failure also caused a lack of drinking water for a part of the day today, but they eventually got the generators running to pressurize the pipes again.

Here are a few damage shots that I gathered from local sources. I would have liked to take some photos, but it was way to dangerous to be out on the roads today just to see the damage. Lots of power lines down everywhere.

I spent the day at work trying to coordinate the school system's evaluation of buildings. We lost power at about 20 of our buildings, and lost part of the roofs on four.

Lots of minor damage at the others, but only one was really hit hard....Westside High School. We will have to work hard all summer to get it ready for school next fall. There was a partial roof failure, and multiple other areas of the roof that were tore off. Also, the portable classrooms took a beating. The big rooftop a/c units were tossed about and likely ruined. Some other structural damage that will require an engineer to look at before we even know what can be saved and what is just too unsafe to keep.

The bottom photo is a shot from my front yard webcam. It was taken at 4:51 this morning and the entire area was illuminated by lightning. Normally, it is pitch black at night. About 10 minutes after this snapshot was recorded, the power failed.


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