A tornado that hit near the Hall-Lumpkin county line Thursday night downed trees across the area and damaged multiple homes.
Lynn Anderson said she wasn’t sure if it was a tornado but she heard a puffing sound and a loud roar at her home on Bridgestone Way off Pony Lake Road off Ga. 60.
The National Weather Service confirmed the EF-1 tornado, which hit its maximum intensity along Bridgestone.
An EF-1 tornado is one of the lowest classes on the tornado scale, with winds of 66 to 110 mph able to cause significant roof damage, broken windows and exterior doors damaged or lost.
Anderson was upstairs waiting for her husband to get home from work, monitoring weather alerts that as far as she knew included a tornado watch, but no warning. Light rain was falling just before her husband pulled up at about 9:30 p.m.
She went to the door to open it and the power went out. As she opened it, the wind blew it open and she had to force it back shut.
“He backed down our driveway and pulled in by the garage and he opened his door to get out and he started getting hit with things,” she said.
Anderson then ran down the stairs toward the basement, with her husband still outside.
“I was just afraid that he had tried to get out of his truck and got caught between the house and his truck, but he’s fine,” she said. “But it was frightening.”
A tree fell across the bedroom of her daughter, who is away at college, and siding and shingles were ripped off and windows broken. Trees across her 4-acre property are down, including many probably 100 years old, she said.
Barbara Poore lives down the street from Anderson and said trees also were down all over her 5-acre property.
“My biggest thing is every tree in my yard is gone, and I have 5 acres,” she said. “... I could be so much worse off and I’m just thankful.”
The weather service reported two homes were destroyed in that area and 12 damaged. The tornado eventually weakened and lifted near Claude Parks Road and Starwood Drive in Hall County.
Poore had no doubt it was a tornado that hit.
“I was just sitting on my couch and just heard a really different noise,” she said. “I’ve always heard the description of the train and that’s exactly what it sounded like.”
She ran to her basement and said she could hear things falling outside and moving upstairs, but it was over in 20 seconds. Her roof and porch were damaged.
Homes in other parts of the county were damaged as well, according to David Kimbrell, Hall County director of emergency management and fire chief.
Three homes in the Timber Creek Trail area off Thompson Bridge Road were damaged, one severely, Kimbrell said.
Trees also fell causing minor damage at the Reece Mobile Home Park on Gillsville Highway, Crawford Oaks town homes off McEver Road in Oakwood and a house on Thousand Oaks Drive off Harmony Church Road. Lightning struck a house at Thompson Bridge Road and Springview Drive.
Power was disrupted for 8,000 Jackson EMC customers, according to company spokeswoman Bonnie Jones. Most of those were in Hall County, with 2,000 in East Hall and 5,000 in South Hall near Spout Springs.