According to the National Weather Service, the fierce storms that blasted Newton County Wednesday night, leaving downed trees and destroyed property in their wake and pelting the southern end of the county with golf ball-sized hail were courtesy of an EF1 tornado with winds reaching 109 m.p.h.
Some residents woke this morning to find nothing more than some scattered debris and small trees and branches littered about their yards. But residents in the High Point Forest subdivision off Ga. Highway 36 were not so lucky.
Massive trees were ripped from the earth as easily as roofs were ripped from many of the homes in the area. Many power lines were down and small storage units were blown upside down. Some homes had trees literally on top of them, crashed through the roof.
According to workers from Snapping Shoals EMC who were on the scene in the area, calls began coming in for assistance at around 8 p.m. Wednesday night after heavy winds and rain, as well as lightning and thunder rolled through the county.
Power was knocked out for thousands of residents and Newton County 911 reported 17 calls for debris — such as power poles and trees blocking the roadway — and property damage. They also received a multitude of calls from security companies because security alarms began going off when the power went out.
Snapping Shoals, EMC reported 11,105 meter outages system-wide; its coverage area includes Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Butts, Jasper, Walton, DeKalb and Morgan counties. The majority of the outages occurred around King Bostick, Channing Cope and Henderson Mill roads and the High Point Forest subdivision in Newton County. The transmission line from Jackson Lake to Covington also sustained damage.
"As of this morning, crews are working to replace 26 poles that were broken," said Snapping Shoals, EMC spokesperson Leigh-Anne Burgess.
No deaths were reported in Newton County due to the storms.