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Deadly weekend storms hit region

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Over the weekend of Jan. 21, the North Florida and South Georgia region was racked with severe thunderstorms, several of which spawned deadly tornadoes. The worst of these hit Adel, Ga. about 20 miles north of Valdosta. At around 3 a.m., an EF Scale 3 (136 – 165 m.p.h.) hit a mobile home park in Adel, with devastating effect.

Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo by Rick Patrick, January 24, 2017
The Withlacoochee River north of Pinetta is above normal level after the severe weather this past weekend. The river is expected to crest just short of flood stage on Friday, Jan. 27.

According to Georgia Emergency Management, eight people were killed in Cook County, which includes Adel. Another two people were killed in Brooks County, which includes the town of Quitman, and another two were killed in Berrien County, which includes the town of Nashville. Three additional fatalities in Dougherty County, which includes the city of Albany. were attributed to the storms. These numbers could rise as search and rescue efforts continue. According to Laura Love; Community Relations Director at South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC), in Valdosta, a total of 17 patients were admitted with injuries sustained as a result of the storms. Those injuries ranged from cuts and bruises, to broken bones. Despite the lack of forewarning, the staff of the hospital was able to handle the sudden influx of patients. “We had wonderful participation from the entire staff,” said Love.

Closer to home, Madison County fared much better. According to Tri–County Electric Cooperative, just over 2,000 Madison County customers had lost power during the storms. There were reports of downed trees across I-10. There were no injuries reported in Madison County.

According to the National Weather Service, the Withlacoochee River near Pinetta is expected to crest just short of flood stage at 72.6 feet sometime Friday, Jan. 27 or Saturday, Jan. 28. Flood stage for that part of the Withlacoochee River is 73 feet. The Aucilla River at Lamont crested on Monday, Jan. 23 at 50.31 feet, just short of the 51 foot flood stage.

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