TIFTON -- Although thunder, lightning and heavy rain awakened many sleeping citizens Monday night and Tuesday morning, Tift County seems to have escaped major damage from tornado weather that injured at least 10 people in Georgia. However, one Tift County family said heavy rains caused a flooding problem on their property.
Colquitt Electric Membership Cooperative reported very few problems and no major power outages in Tift County. Workers did repair a power pole broken at 11 p.m. Monday night in Alapaha, but that damage did not cause long-term outages.
With a reported four inches of rain falling in the last 24 hours, there was no major flooding within the Tifton city limits. City engineer Roy Spiker said a broken drainpipe in a yard on Emory Drive caused a few problems.
"The retention ponds worked like they were supposed to," said Spiker. "We're very pleased that everything worked as well as it did. We used to always have flooding up there by Save-A-Lot (on Eighth Street), and we didn't have that. Overall, it's been a very positive experience.
Spiker said city crews began clearing gutters and catch basins Monday in preparation for the heavy rains.
Harry Doss, Tift County's Director of Roads and Public Works, said his department has not experienced major problems resulting from the weather.
"We haven't had anything major, nothing you would expect with three or four inches of rain falling," said Doss. "The roads are slick so people should just slow down."
Willie Cobb, who lives in a home adjacent to his son's double wide mobile home at the corner of Dorminey and Youmans streets, said he has been battling a flooding problem on his land near I-75.
"It has been three feet out here before," said Cobb, pointing to the water marks on blocks under his son's mobile home. "I don't think the culvert is sufficient for the amount of water we have when it rains like this."
Cobb said he and his family have lived on the property since 1947, but didn't have the flooding problem until I-75 was built.
"The standing water has ruined my air conditioner unit before and it may be ruined again," said Gary Cobb. "My trailer is sinking."
Doss said he has discussed the flooding problem with the Cobbs before and has reported it to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
"They (DOT) have a large slide on the south side of I-75 and it covered in the culvert," said Doss. "The culvert plugs up with mud on the other end of the Interstate."
Doss said the mud washes into the culvert off of a 25-30 foot embankment. The Cobbs said they have health concerns when the water sits in their yards.
"It brings up snakes and everything else and the mosquitoes are also a big problem," said Willie Cobb.
A tornado hit the small town of Mora in Coffee County, about 50 miles northeast of Valdosta, injuring two people who were inside a chicken house that was leveled around 8 a.m. Monday. The tornado knocked down trees and power lines and damaged at least three homes.
Scott Roberts, director of the Coffee County emergency management agency, said the pattern of destruction indicated a tornado had touched down.
"It had to be a tornado, the way it (knocked down) the trees in the area," Roberts said. "There was more twisting of pine trees rather than a straight line. There's more of a path to it."
A group representing the Tiftarea Chapter of the American Red Cross provided disaster assistance to Coffee County residents Tuesday. Local Red Cross Director Laurie Vitale said the tornado destroyed two homes and caused damage to several others.
"It is fortunate that the tornado touched down in a rural, sparcely populated area," said Vitale.
Vitale said she and a group of volunteers set ukp a family service center in Roberts' office and provided damage assessments to GEMA and local EMA officials. The Red Cross also provided temporary shelter, clothing and food to uninsured and displaced storm victims.
Storms and strong winds swept through nearby Berrien, Atkinson and Bacon counties, damaging at least two home
s in Bacon, where a funnel cloud was spotted, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Fla.
The governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday in the north Georgia counties of Bartow, Cherokee, Dawson and Pickens counties, and in central Georgia's Butts County. GEMA officials said no one was killed in Georgia, but nine people were injured and about 200 buildings were damaged Monday by thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped across north and central Georgia.
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