ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A fierce storm system that roared across northwest Georgia has left at least one person dead and a trail of damage that included demolished buildings in downtown Adairsville and vehicles overturned on Interstate 75 northwest of Atlanta.
A possible tornado touched down in Adairsville, and authorities confirmed that at least one person was killed in the town about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta, Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap told The Associated Press. The person’s body was found in storm damage in hard-hit Adairsville. Millsap said he did not immediately have further details.
Crews were responding to reports of people trapped in storm-damaged residential and commercial buildings in Adairsville, where there were reports of some injuries, Millsap added. Crews were trying to get into the damaged areas to assess the situation.
I-75 was closed in both directions near mile marker 306 for a time as crews responded to the scene, authorities said.
Atlanta station WSB-TV aired dramatic footage of a large funnel cloud bearing down on Adairsville and cars strewn across a street in the area. Large sections of a sprawling manufacturing plant appeared to have been demolished in the storms.
The storm struck Adairsville late Wednesday morning, said Chris Moseley, an administrative assistant with the Bartow County Emergency Management Agency. The possible tornado roared through the downtown area, demolishing a home and leaving at least 10 cars overturned, Moseley said.
Most of the damage was along Georgia Highway 140 near downtown Adairsville, she said. The highway was closed in both directions at mile marker 4.46 through Adairsville. Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mohamed Arafa said police, fire officials and Georgia Department of Transportation crews were on the scene waiting for the power to be turned off so they could address downed lines.
Arafa wrote in an email that he did not know when crews would be able to clear all the downed lines and debris so that the road could reopen.
The storms were part of a powerful system over Georgia bringing the threat of widespread damaging winds and isolated tornadoes to the state.
Georgia Power said 8,700 customers were without power in the wake of the storms — with about 5,500 of them in northwest Georgia and 1,700 in metro Atlanta — as of 2 p.m.
The National Weather Service early Wednesday morning issued a tornado watch for nine counties in northwest Georgia through 1 p.m. Wednesday. It included the cities of Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Dallas, Rome and Summerville.
An emergency manager reports that a tree fell on a house in Rome, though there were no immediate reports of any injuries. Earlier, high winds brought down power lines south of Summerville, the emergency manager in Chattooga County reported.
The line of storms was expected to track through the Atlanta metro area by mid-afternoon Wednesday.
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