Storms leave destruction in Laurens County

Several homes are left with severe damage in Laurens County after Wednesday’s storms. Baker Church Road is just one area in the county that got hit hard when the weather rolled in.

“It just wrecked everything in this area, and when I say wrecked, I mean busted, tore, ripped,” says Edwin Jarrett. He surveyed the damage at his sister-in-law’s home. She was not home when the velocity moved the concrete.

“That things been pushed off the foundation probably three and a half feet,” says Jarrett describing the damage.

“By the time we got here, it was too late, it happened so fast,” says Ronnie Bates who owns a home on the street. He and his wife rushed home from work when the storm began to roar into Laurens County.

Their daughter and her boyfriend crouched down in this closet to ride out the wind's fury.

“She just cried and held me, and I told her it was going to be alright. We can get another house. We can't get another her,” says Bates.

The winds pushed the inside out, taking insulation and turning it into shreds. Wind blew a large sheet of siding in their pool.

“The whole end down there is tore off, the whole back roof is off, a lot of the bedroom furniture is ruined. We saved some of the furniture and a couple of TVs,” says Bates.

Wednesday afternoon, just a flurry of friends came in to help out Ronnie and his family they swept up the glass kind of put the furniture off to the side and put boards on the doors and windows.  Thursday, the insurance process will begin.  

Damage from storms in Dodge County

Dodge County was one of the areas that faced the brunt of the storm.

As a result, reports about storm damage and several viewer photos started flowing in to the newsroom.

Jacob Reynolds traveled to Dodge County to take a look at what the storm left behind.

Madeline Dominy was home by herself when the storm hit.

“I was scared to death, but I did not realize that it was as bad as it was because when the wind got real strong, I went out in the hall because I was sure that was the safest place to be, and so I just sat down out there and prayed,” Dominy told us in her garage. 

The storm only took a few shingles off the roof, but destroyed other parts of the property. 

Trees were down, the barn's roof was torn away, and a tree crushed a truck. Madeline said she couldn't believe it and called her husband who was at work. 

“She said we got a lot of damage, so you need to see it. You won't believe it when you see it. I said that's it, I'm going home, whether I go through a storm or whatever. I'm going home,” said Willis Dominy, her husband. 

The people WMAZ spoke with were just thankful that they felt they were protected by a higher power.

Like Madeline, who felt blessed. 

“Because the Lord protected me through it,” she told WMAZ. 

Her husband just was glad he still had someone to come home to. 

“I had eyes on her, she was OK, and again I was saying, 'Thank you, Lord,' that she was OK and that there was no major damage to the house,” he said.

A few streets over, Mary McCullers took shelter in a church, a place she said she was never worried.

“Because I feel safe here, I told them not to worry about nothing, the Good Lord was in here,” McCullers said. 

Crisp County scrapes by with minimal damage

Crisp County didn’t see much damage on Wednesday afternoon. 

Chelsea Beimfohr and Madison Cavalchire drove down to the Cordele area after a large storm cell passed through around 2:30pm. WMAZ was able to live stream the severe storm clouds via cameras from the Georgia Department of Transportation.  

Crisp County Sheriff and EMA Director, Billy Hancock, says there was some water on a few roads around the county and some traffic lights out, but that was it. 

Hancock says emergency responders and volunteers tracked the storms at the Crisp County Emergency Operations Center all day on Wednesday in preparation. 

“There’s not much you can do to prepare if a tornado just comes and strikes damage, but what we did prepare for, and what I think the personnel at Crisp County and throughout the county did, was inform people of what was going on today. We met yesterday afternoon with the school board, we met yesterday afternoon with the public safety officials and we all talked about our plans,” says Hancock. 

And although damage in Crisp was minimal, residents were thinking ahead, making sure they had shelter. 

Hancock says some Crisp deputies helped evacuate a mobile home park before the storm hit. 

“We had a couple of people that were in mobile homes once the storm started. They wanted to get out of there, so we sent deputies to pick them up and take them to the courthouse so they would have a safe structure to stay in and ride the storms out,” says Hancock. 

According to a Facebook post from the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Hancock closed the Crisp County Emergency Operations Center around 8 p.m. Wednesday after a full day of storm tracking. 

As the watermelon capital of the world, Hancock says he’s concerned that the hail from Wednesday’s storms may have damaged a large portion of the watermelon crop. 

Hancock says crews will be surveying the watermelon fields Thursday.

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