The people who rode out Saturday’s storm in Warner Robins were convinced a tornado had hit, and they were right.
After a deadly weekend in Georgia, preliminary reports confirmed tornadoes for Houston, Wilkinson, Washington and Wilcox counties, said Tish Atwell of the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City office.
“We don’t have any intensity ratings. It takes a little while,” Atwell said.
The National Weather Service had three survey teams looking at storm damage in several Georgia counties in the Peachtree City coverage area.
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The Tallahassee office is investigating the severe storms that hit near Albany.
As of Monday afternoon, 15 deaths were attributed to the storms.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported that seven people died in Cook County, four in Dougherty, and two each in Berrien and Brooks counties.
Sunday, Gov. Nathan Deal initially declared a state of emergency for Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Lowndes and Thomas counties in south central Georgia.
Monday, Deal expanded the declaration to add Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Dougherty, Mitchell, Turner, Wilcox and Worth counties.
In Putnam County, Sheriff Howard Sills said witnesses spotted a water spout Saturday over Lake Sinclair that came ashore and damaged the county’s Oconee Springs Park.
“I had at least five people tell me personally that they saw it,” Sills said Monday. “It came down into the lake like a pencil and started sucking water up.”
The funnel cloud lifted briefly and touched down again at the park, Sills said.
The 1:30 p.m. tornado is blamed for considerable damage to trailers and campers at the park, but no one was hurt.
It was not immediately clear if a tornado survey team had made it to Putnam County.
Days of heavy rain left behind a muddy mess that closed Telfair County schools, Macon’s Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and parts of the Amerson River Park.
Macon reported more than 3 inches of rain since Saturday, which triggered minor flooding on the Ocmulgee River.
By noon Monday, the river had hit a crest of 19.66 feet before beginning to recede. If the forecast holds, the river could drop below flood stage of 18 feet sometime Tuesday.
To monitor the river level, check the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service online.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs counties.
At 19 feet, the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail begins to flood north of the Otis Redding Bridge.
The lowest sections of Charles Jones Gateway Park also flood at that stage, as well as agricultural lands downstream.
When the river is at 16 feet at Amerson River Park, parts of the primitive trail section and the boat ramps and canoe launches are under water, said Chris Floore, a county spokesman.
The Parks & Beautification Department closed those areas.
Once the water recedes, Macon-Bibb County work crews will clear mud from the trail before it reopens later this week.