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Severe weather skirts Albany

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- A slowing warm front from the Gulf spared much of Southwest Georgia from the severe weather officials with the National Weather Service had predicted, but spawned tornados in areas where they hadn't expected them -- Southeast Georgia, north Florida and southern Alabama.

Reports of damaging winds and possible tornados far east of where meteorologists had predicted Tuesday were coming in late Wednesday as the system that dumped several inches of rain across the Southeastern U.S. moved towards the Atlantic.

By 3 p.m. Wednesday, possible tornados had been spotted in Appling, Jeff Davis, Effingham and Atkinson counties in Southeast Georgia. A tornado warning in North East Georgia's Wilkes County was also issued around the same time.

During a conference call Tuesday with emergency management agency directors from throughout the tri-state area, officials with the NWS warned that the system had strengthened and would likely dump six to eight inches of rain along a line that extended through the gulf of Mexico up to Dothan and on through the Albany area with the most severe weather likely to begin around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

But as the system slowed, it forced the worst parts of the squall line to split, dumping large amounts of rain on central and northern Georgia overnight and then thunderstorms, high winds and tornados on South Central and South Eastern Georgia in the afternoon.

"We lucked out," Dougherty EMA Director James Carswell said. "The weather folks thought it was going to be messy for us, but all we got was a little rain and some wind, so we're thankful for that."

Tree limbs did manage to knock down power lines on Rosser Avenue, Cleveland Street and Eager Avenue, but those were not a significant event, Carswell said.