In a confirmed EF-2 tornado in Warner Robins, Wal-Mart’s huge HVAC units were blown half a football field away.
A brick wall was reduced to rubble and dozens of homes were damaged after the tornado tracked at least 14 miles through Peach and Houston counties, according to a preliminary tornado report from the National Weather Service.
Survey teams hit the ground Monday after a volatile weekend brought severe weather all across Georgia.
The southwest region was hit hardest by twisters that killed a total of 15 people in Cook, Doughterty, Berrien and Brooks counties.
Surveyors were headed back out Tuesday after confirming additional tornadoes in Johnson, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Washington counties. Tuesday’s teams also confirmed an EF-1 twister in Monroe County.
The initial report shows a tornado touched down six miles southeast of Fort Valley, along Andel Road near the border of Peach and Houston counties.
It crossed Interstate 75, snapping and uprooting trees and ripping shingles off roofs.
The twister knocked a tree onto a nursing home on Ga. 11, then headed along Sandefur Road and damaged some homes along Griswold Way.
A sports complex on Cohen Walker Road sustained minor damage as the storm crossed Ga. 96 near Peach Blossom Road.
Homes west of Bonanza Drive were damaged as the tornado began to intensify while crossing Feagin Mill Road.
Surveyors found evidence of 110 to 115 mph winds as the storm strengthened and reduced brick fences to rubble along Sandy Run Road and Echo Lane.
The force of the winds lifted two large heating, ventilation and air conditioning units off the roof of the Wal-Mart and sent them flying 50 yards. The store’s auto bay doors were blown in as the roof lifted up and rafters twisted on the other end of the building.
Along Windmill Court, 80 percent of the roof was lifted off one house and another sustained extensive damage.
The storm tracked east-northeast to a mobile home park on Maxwell Drive and Sherry Lane where 15-20 homes were damaged, including one that was nearly destroyed.
The survey team tracked it for 14 miles and will followup with Robins Air Force Base to determine if the twister hit the base.
The public affairs office reported widespread damage Saturday, but nothing major.
Houston County is not included in the governor’s state of emergency because of the rapid recovery, Emergency Management Agency Director and Fire Chief Jimmy Williams said.
State of emergency is for immediate, life-saving response, he said.
“We had crews in on Saturday and everything was taken care of,” Williams said. “Roads were open and everything else, so there was no need for the state to come in.”
He credited the three-prong weather alert of radios, texts and sirens for helping save lives.
“I think we were extremely fortunate at the time of day, not in the middle of the night. Everybody was up and about,” Williams said.
Houston County sent rescue crews to Albany as local tax assessors worked on compiling reports on the number of homes damaged.
Just before 1 p.m. Saturday, an EF-1 tornado with 95 mph winds touched down about a mile southeast of Irwinton in Wilkinson County.
The storm hit east of the U.S. 441 bypass and tracked toward Toomsboro for about six miles.
A weaker tornado touched down in Johnson County about five miles southeast of Wrightsville at about 1:30 p.m.
The EF-0 storm traveled six and a half miles before lifting near the intersection of Harrison and Fortner roads.
The National Weather Service also confirmed an EF-1 tornado of 110 mph in Washington County that touched down at about 1:33 p.m. Saturday.
The damage extends along a 14 mile, non-continuous path, from about three miles southeast of Tennille to about a mile northeast of Davisboro.
Just before noon, a 95 mph tornado hit five miles southwest of Marshallville and tracked about nine miles.
The EF-1 twister hit along Winchester Road, crossing Ga. 127 and lifting along Camp John Hope Road.
Minor roof damage was reported, trees were damaged and three irrigation systems were overturned south of Marshallville.
Monday, meteorologists also confirmed the tornado blamed for extensive damage in Wilcox County.
Updates are expected once survey teams complete Tuesday’s reports.
Monroe County EMA Director Matt Perry told Facebook followers an EF-1 tornado near Smarr with at least 74 mph winds was confirmed Tuesday, but no further details were immediately released.