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Tree limb pierces child’s bedroom in North Hall

POSTED: August 31, 2008 5:01 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Corinth Drive homeowner Robert Miller, far right, talks with emergency personnel after several trees fell in his backyard when a storm ripped through North Hall on Tuesday.

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Robert and Jennifer Miller were in the process of fixing up their North Hall home, having just replaced their roof a few weeks ago, when fierce storms Tuesday afternoon brought about the need for more, unexpected repairs.

The storm, marked by high straight-line winds, uprooted a large tree in their backyard and sent it crashing onto their roof.

One limb that Robert Miller described as "the size of my leg" pierced through the ceiling of the couple’s 11-year-old daughter’s bedroom, stopping just inches from her bed.

He was taking the bleak scene in stride.

"It’s OK. The house is a work in progress. Now, we’ve got a little more work, and we’ve got to speed up the progress."

Fortunately, none of the family members were home when the lunchtime storm tore through Mount Vernon Pointe and Lanier Woods North subdivisions, both off Mount Vernon Road in North Hall.

At 11:53 a.m., the National Weather Service radar detected a storm at Lake Lanier Islands, moving northeast at 30 mph with wind gusts of up to 45 mph. The system ripped through Flowery Branch and Gainesville before continuing on toward Murrayville and Clermont.

At around 12:30 p.m., winds blew so strongly around the area of Thompson Bridge Road and Mount Vernon Road that some people reported a possible tornado.

The cloudburst was part of the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay, which has been dropping heavy rain over Northeast Georgia for the past two days.

A Mount Vernon Pointe resident, Lindsey McCamy, said she was resting when the storm arrived.

"I heard the wind (and) thought the windows were going to be sucked in," McCamy said.

Another resident, Ed Wayne, said the lights flickered in his house and came back on. Three or four minutes later, they went out again.

Residents left their houses after the storm, inspecting their property and checking on their neighbors.

The worst of the damage seemed to be on Alexandria Drive in the subdivision.

Dr. David Johnson, a cardiologist, was at work when he got a call from his baby sitter, Donna Kerns. She was caring for Johnson’s son, 9-year-old Jeremiah, who couldn’t go to school because of sickness.

Jeremiah alerted Kerns, who was ordering a pizza, to the storm, urging that they go to the basement of the house.

The storm ended up knocking down 10 to 12 trees in Johnson’s backyard.

"It’s going to be a mess to clean up," Johnson said. "But I’m glad nobody got hurt."

The storm also caused some damage at Gospel Assembly church on Mount Vernon Road.

Homes particularly affected in Lanier Woods North were on Corinth Drive near Andrew Street.

Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell and Fire Marshal Scott Cagle drove around the area inspecting the damage.

Kimbrell said it didn’t appear that a tornado had struck.

"Nothing is twisted like a tornado. It looks like straight-line winds," Kimbrell said.

Will Schofield, superintendent of the Hall County school system, sent a memo to school personnel shortly after the storm.

Mount Vernon Elementary, North Hall Middle and North Hall High schools "immediately activated their severe weather procedures and moved students to the appropriate areas of their campuses," according to Schofield.



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