For the second time in recent months, Floyd County has been hit with what is believed to be a tornado that struck the Kingston Highway area Wednesday night, leaving one person dead and many residents preparing to clean up.
The storm system Wednesday was being tracked by RNW Affiliate Northwest Georgia Severe Weather Team as it moved into the region in the evening hours. The team was in the field chasing around 10 pm when the damaged occurred. The storm struck an area along Kingston Highway from Wilshire Road and Sherwood Forest, all the way to The Rock Store and Morrison Campground Road. While Southern Floyd County had been placed under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning at the time, the damaged was from a different storm cell that did not have any warnings associated with it.
The storm at its greatest strength seemed to cross Kingston Highway at Freeman Ferry Road, where it destroyed a store before toppling trees and damaging structures.
According to members of the Chatman Family, there was a sudden calm in the storm, followed by damaging winds and a sound similar to a freight train. They were quickly able to take cover in an interior bathroom as the storm passed. According to Darlene Chatman, their home was spared with only minor cosmetic damage, a fact which she contributes to her late father and brother-in-law, who advised her how to reinforce her home when it was originally built. While the Chatman’s had much tree damage to deal with on their property, they do now possess the remnants of a gazebo, which was torn from its foundation in the neighbors yard and thrown 50 yards into theirs.
While other homes in the area, which all belong to the same family, were also spared with cosmetic damage, the storm destroyed one home in the area. According to family members, the resident of that home, a female in her 70′s, was at home when the storm struck, but suffered what they believe to be a heart attack. By the time weather team members arrived on the scene, the victim was being tended to by Floyd EMS, while natural gas still audibly spewed from within the home. Though they rushed the victim to Floyd Medical Center, she passed away at the hospital.
As of 3:00 AM Thursday, Floyd County Police had blocked the area off from traffic, and power was still out throughout the area.
Rome and Floyd County again stands an even greater chance of severe weather Thursday Evening from an advancing cold front.
Members of the NWGASWT plan to return to the scene Thursday to assist with cleanup and to perform a damage survey. Check back later for this additional coverage of these devastating storms.