State Watch

Tornado leaves at least 1 dead in Newnan, Georgia

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Stock photo of a tornado

A severe tornado that tore through a Georgia county early Friday has left at least one person dead, with widespread damage to buildings and houses also reported. 

ABC’s Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV reported that officials in the city of Newnan, located in Coweta County, said that at least one person who had a medical emergency died as first responders attempted to rescue the man. 

Other minor injuries were reported, and Coweta County Schools were closed Friday as residents woke up to heavily damaged or destroyed homes, with photos and aerial footage posted to social media showing downed trees and toppling buildings. 

The National Weather Service for Atlanta tweeted Friday evening that preliminary reports indicated it was a EF-4 intensity storm, with wind speeds racing up to 170 mph in the hardest hit areas. 

The storm came after the Weather Service issued a tornado warning and a special tornado emergency Thursday evening as it received reports of a large tornado moving from Heard County to Coweta County, according to local NBC affiliate WXIA-TV

Keith Stellman of the National Weather Service said at a press conference Friday, “It’s clear it was a tornado that went through here last night.” 

The storm downed power lines, prompting power outages throughout the city, with WXIA-TV reporting that several residents were still without power Friday afternoon. 

Officials also told the local outlet that they had to begin recording 911 calls on paper after the power outages downed their emergency operating system. 

WXIA-TV reported that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to tour the damage Saturday, along with Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), who represents Coweta County in Congress. 

The governor late in the afternoon Friday tweeted a message of support to those affected by the storm, and thanked first responders “who answered the call to help their fellow Georgians during a crisis.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by yesterday’s severe storms,” he wrote. “My office continues to monitor the situation so we can assist communities in need.”

Ferguson, who visited Newnan’s 911 Center and met with other emergency personnel on Friday, tweeted footage of the damage, adding that his “prayers continue to be with our community & all those impacted by the devastation.”

Updated Saturday at 9:41 a.m.

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