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Storm takes down hundreds of trees along GA-242 in Washington County

Sheriff Joel Cochran says the county is lucky it didn't have any fatalities.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ga. — A possible tornado took down about a thousand trees along a highway in Washington County. 

Sheriff Joel Cochran evaluated what Monday's storm left behind. Beginning at News Bridge Road where a metal barn was destroyed and scraps slung across the road.

"Off of News Bridge Road. It came across here and then went across here," Cochran said pointing out the storm's path. 

The storm took down trees while it made its path through the county, but the worst damage was seen on Highway 242 on Bartow Road.

Severe storm outbreak left its mark... In the early morning hours the weather system pushed high winds through the Washington County area of our district among other locations statewide. Maintenance forces reported over 70 trees down along a section of GA 242 from Riddleville east toward Bartow. Sorry to see this damage to property. We are thankful for our dedicated employees who never stop answering the call to serve others 💪 Our crews will be back out the rest of the week cleaning debris pushed off the right of way in this four mile area. 📸 Larry Morris and Josh Woodard

Posted by Georgia DOT - East on Monday, April 13, 2020

"This is one of the hardest hit areas we've seen so far," Cochran said. 

Acres and acres of trees were uprooted or broken. Cochran estimates hundreds to even a thousand were down. Georgia Department of Transportation is working to cut down trees and move debris out of the roadway. 

Originally, GDOT says "maintenance forces" reported over 70 trees down along a section of GA 242.

While GDOT is clearing the roads, people are picking up what was left of their property. One of those homeowners is Michael Atkinson. 

"I haven't seen the whole property. All I've seen is this," Atkinson said. "We've got bad devastation in both directions."

Monday morning, Atkinson and crews were working to just get to his house. 

"Just got the driveway opened up," Atkinson said. 

Down the road, Gary Kenneth Everett and his family are still in shock. Everett and his wife were in their house when the storm ripped through. Somehow, both made it out with only minor injuries. Cochran says the county is lucky everyone made it out alive.

"By looking at the damage, I can only imagine what people were thinking when it came through. God was with everyone because we're not dealing with fatalities this morning."

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