Second round of Middle Georgia storms could be worse

lfabian@macon.comApril 29, 2014 

Middle Georgia escaped serious damage with a line of potentially severe storms Tuesday morning, but might not be as fortunate Wednesday.

“It’s looking kinda messy,” said Ryan Willis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “The event (Wednesday) might be more eventful.”

After about a third of an inch of rain fell Tuesday morning at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon, at least an inch of rain is expected with heavy storms beginning overnight, possibly as late as morning rush hour. More like 1.5 to 2 inches of rain could fall if the storms track slower, Willis said.

Meteorologists issued a tornado watch early Tuesday until 11 a.m., but the threat passed for Macon by 8 a.m., although the winds were still brisk.

Walter Massey was taking his children to school when a huge oak tree crashed down on Ingleside Avenue just west of Vista Circle.

“It was a little closer than I wanted this morning,” said Massey, who watched the tree starting to tip over.

“Oh, it’s really leaning,” Massey thought before the tree crashed down sending the power line swinging up toward his car. “It was really close.”

Macon-Bibb County Fire Lt. Robert Thomas warned residents of the 3100 block of Ingleside to turn off computers and other electronics that could be damaged in a power surge when electricity was restored.

Georgia Power reported several minor outages around Macon due to the storms, but most were repaired in a few hours.

Another tree fell and brought power lines down on Beaver Oaks Drive in the western portion of the county.

On New Street, near The Medical Center of Central Georgia, a large tree limb crashed onto a dark blue pickup parked at the curb.

“I hope he has insurance,” a Bibb deputy said while looking at the crumpled bed of the truck, which was empty, so no one was hurt.

Late Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency to release state resources to prepare for and respond to any severe weather that could threaten Georgians.

“It’s impossible to pinpoint where the weather will hit,” Deal stated in the release. “We’re prepared now and we’ll be ready for recovery should we, God forbid, experience tornado damage or flooding.”

Deal recommended downloading the Ready Georgia app, follow the Georgia Emergency Management Agency on Twitter and tune in to media reports as the weather develops.

Severe weather hit Columbus at about 5 a.m. with 25 to 35 trees down about five miles north of town.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued at about 9:15 a.m. for parts of Pulaski, Bleckley and Dodge counties.

Law enforcement agencies say only a few trees toppled in the heavy rain and high winds.

“I really don’t think it was that bad,” said Pulaski County EMA Director and Fire Chief Leslie Sewell. “We’ve dodged a bullet.”

Wednesday afternoon’s storms could be more severe as the temperature rises, Willis warned.

With the ground saturated, downpours also could trigger heavy runoff.

A flood watch remains in effect until 2 a.m. Thursday for most of Middle Georgia northward, with the greatest flooding risk in north Georgia.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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