Middle Georgia residents should stay vigilant as severe storm systems remain a threat.
A supercell storm threatened Sumter, Dooly and Crisp, Pulaski and Dodge counties but remained south of Houston County when passing through. These storms have deep rotating updrafts.
The Crisp County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a tornado, but no reports of significant damage, said Houston County EMA Director Jimmy Williams.
Most of Middle Georgia remains under a tornado watch until 8 p.m.
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Robins Air Force Base supervisors were given the green light to grant liberal leave based on mission requirements and individual needs with the continued threat of severe weather, according to a base Facebook post.
Showers and thunderstorms may continue to rapidly develop, according to the post.
Most of Middle Georgia remains at a Level 5, the highest level indicating the likelihood of severe weather developing, Williams said.
Folks are advised to have a place in mind to huddle if a tornado warning is sounded.
It’s best to be on a ground level, away from windows, inside a closest or small room with no windows. Mobile home residents should move to studier structures.
Many Middle Georgia counties will sound outdoor sirens, which may not be heard indoors, Williams. People should get updates through local media and the National Weather Service, he said.
Houston County is bracing for strong winds capable of downing trees, disrupting power and spawning tornadoes, Williams said. Up to an inch of rain is likely, with flash flooding expected.
No shelters are planned to open pre-storm in unincorporated Houston County, Williams said. However, Warner Robins has opened City Hall as a shelter. Perry also has opened City Hall as a shelter. In Macon, the Salvation Army of Central Georgia at 1955 Broadway will be open to shelter people needing a a safer environment. Dublin City Hall and the Laurens County Courthouse also are open for those seeking shelter around Laurens County.
In Macon, a house on Overlook Road was struck by lightning, but there was little damage and no one was injured.
Though the National Weather Service indicated a large, potentially destructive tornado was spotted near Americus about 1:30 p.m., the county’s EMA director said about 2:45 p.m. that there were no reports of injuries but damage reports were trickling in.
“We don’t have a real good picture of it yet,” Sumter County EMA Director Nigel Poole said.
Attempts to reach Poole later in the day were unsuccessful.
The same tornado reported in Sumter County traveled northeast into Dooly County, where it blew off the top of a two-story house in Vienna.
No one was injured when the Franklin Road home was damaged, said Gale Anderson, secretary for Dooly County EMA.
As the storm moved east to Pulaski County, a horse died after being struck by lightning.
Other than some down trees, no damage was reported there, EMA Director Leslie Sewell said.
"I'm very surprised,” Sewell said. "We were sitting dead on ready."
The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in Dodge County, where a half dozen houses on Scarborough-Owens Road were damaged, EMA Director Stanley Stephens said. The extent of the damage was unclear, but there were no reported injuries.
Rescue crews were at first hindered by live wires across the road, heavy rain, strong winds and frequent lightning, but they returned to Scarborough-Owens Road about 5 p.m. to assess the damage and cover the houses with tarps.
Attempts to reach Laurens County EMA Director Don Bryant were unsuccessful.
For more on this story, return to Macon.com and read Friday’s Telegraph.