ALBANY — Despite a few moments of hand-wringing and reports that a possible tornado had been spotted in the area, southwest Georgia escaped most of the fury of a weather system that passed through the region midday Sunday.
While local emergency personnel reported no major damage from the storm shortly after moderate rains stopped falling mid-afternoon and the skies began to clear, that was not the case in neighboring states.
Seven people were reported killed by mid-afternoon Sunday in the wake of a powerful system that National Weather Service officials said endangered the lives of 90 million people from Texas to the Atlantic Coast in Georgia and North Carolina.
Four deaths were reported in Texas — including two small children who were crushed when a tree crashed into the vehicle they were in — and fatalities were reported in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The storm system, which had the western half of Georgia under a tornado watch for several hours, spawned tornadoes, heavy rains, hail and high winds that tore roofs off homes, uprooted trees and left a wide path of destruction across the deep South.
The National Weather Service indicated early Sunday afternoon that a possible tornado had shown up on radar in extreme southwest Georgia, but the weather service sent out a bulletin a short time later saying that the region was instead under a severe thunder storm warning. There were reports of tornado sightings in southwest and northwest Georgia, but the NWS has not yet confirmed those reports.
And while southwest Georgians know all too well the damage that severe weather can inflict, much of the region escaped the wind damage that has left the region in recovery mode since Jan. 2, 2017, when the first of two powerful storms tore through the region. The area was also hit hard when Hurricane Michael came through on Oct. 10 of last year.
Tornado watches and warnings remained in effect for most of the day Sunday in southwest and northwest Georgia. The watches were lifted later in the afternoon and shifted to the eastern part of the state as the front moved through.