Camden County digs out in wake of tornado

EF-1 tornado tracked at least 16 miles on ground, left toppled trees, damage

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Dozens of huge trees toppled Sunday in Camden County when an EF-1 tornado tracked at least 16 miles on the ground in the county.

But few injuries were reported and many homes remained untouched.

Still, residents are left to dig out from the debris left behind.

Most of the damage was in the Horseshoe Cove Subdivision, a few miles northeast of Woodbine.

Enormous trees were snapped or lying on their sides on every street and practically every yard in the subdivision, some blocking roads and others damaging homes.

Don Drury has been cutting trees since the storm blew through Sunday.

“The next morning, when I drove into Horseshoe Cove, I just started crying,” Drury said. “Best neighborhood you could imagine.”

He said he was as stunned as everyone else around the area that the ferociousness of the storm didn’t kill anyone in Camden County. Tornadoes spawned from that same storm system killed at least 19 people -- 15 of them in south Georgia.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal plans to visit communities in Albany and Cook County on Wednesday and take a helicopter tour to view the storm damage.

Georgia Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue led the U.S. Senate in a moment of silence Tuesday to reflect on the lives lost.

In Camden County, residents were counting their blessings.

“I can’t believe how few houses got devastated. Only around three or four that I know of got really hit bad. I mean, it’s a miracle,” Drury said.

Even so, the cleanup will likely take weeks. Logan Page, who runs a tree-trimming company, will have to decide whether to keep his business running or work on his own house, which was severely damaged in the storm.

“We own Allen’s Tree Service, so we’re kind of not being able to take care of our own stuff. Have to take care of everyone else’s,” Page said.

Parts of the roof of Page's home were found sitting in a tree roughly half a mile away.

“Blew the metal off over on the other side,” Page said. “Basically, I was sitting on the back porch, watching the lightning across the marsh, and it was just real calm, and all of a sudden my wife looked outside and a big gust of wind, and I couldn’t get into the house quick enough. Got in and I could hear something. It was just loud. It was just loud as all get out.”

Seaborn Bell, who lives in Horseshoe Cove said he started the subdivision a few decades ago and has never seen weather like what came through last weekend.

“We’ve been lucky. Even hurricanes haven’t been through here,” Bell said. “Nobody’s really tremendously upset.  They're just getting through it.”

There were reports of one serious injury in the county, but that person was hit be a tree limb while helping clean up after the storm had passed. There's no word on the person's status.

Power and tree-trimming crews have been canvassing the neighborhood trying to help wherever they can, doing their part to get a quiet, hidden community in northern Camden County back on its feet.

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