Savannah Reams: Greene Publishing, Inc.
On Monday, Dec. 3, at 2:38 a.m., the National Weather Service issued a tornado and severe thunderstorm warning for areas within South Georgia and North Florida. However, by the time the alert was issued, a tornado had already struck Madison County, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
The severe weather was projected to hit at approximately 2:50 a.m., near the areas of Cherry Lake, Pinetta, I-75 at Exit 5, Nankin, Twin Lakes, Empress, Remerton, Clyattville, Dasher and I-75 at Exit 11. Residents were warned to take cover, move to a basement, interior room or the lowest floor of a sturdy building due to the possibility of a tornado.
Before the alert was issued, a tornado touched down in the Cherry Lake area, near Hare Ave., where locals Diane and Mike Riley, as well as their son and daughter-in-law Clint and Brooke Riley reside. Diane Riley spoke with Greene Publishing, Inc. Monday morning, after the incident, stating that she woke up to a roaring sound at approximately 2:30 a.m. At this point in time, neither she, nor anyone else, had received the text message alert from the National Weather Service warning locals to take cover.
"I woke up at about 2:30 a.m. to the roaring getting louder and louder, I yelled for my husband, grabbed my phone, went running for my daughter, we got to the closet and, by that time, the [National Weather Service text message alert] went off, but [the tornado] was already passed," said Riley. "Our stock trailer that was parked by our carport ended up on its side in our front pasture, about 250 feet away; there was a small cargo trailer that was parked by another carport that was flipped on its side. [The tornado] was so strong that it pushed our golf carts out of the carport, the boat was pushed sideways, major trees were uprooted, power lines were down and corrals and fencing were down." Riley added that the roaring sound of the tornado was something she never wanted to hear again.