Forecasters confirm EF2 tornado in western Georgia
ATLANTA – Forecasters have confirmed that an EF2 tornado touched down Monday night in Troup County and more severe weather is expected Tuesday.
The National Weather Service placed 89 Georgia counties under a tornado watch Tuesday morning. The watch stretched from Georgia's southwest corner to its northeast corner and includes Atlanta, Albany, Macon, and Athens.
National Weather Service meteorologist Trisha Palmer says Monday night's twister touched down in a rural area around 7 p.m. and traveled about 5.5 miles before it lifted in Heard County. Palmer says the tornado was on the ground for about 10 minutes.
The tornado's top wind speed was roughly 120 mph and Palmer says the storm caused damage to between four and six homes in the area and there was extensive tree damage.
Palmer says forecasters spoke with local emergency management officials and no injuries were reported.
Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in Georgia overnight, freeing up state resources for storm response.
At the request of Georgia Power, JEA is sending nine crews -- 47 employees -- to assist in restoring power.
"What they've done is, they say, 'OK, we've got a pretty good storm path. We're going to get you in before the storm hits that way we can go to work and get lights back on,'" JEA crew member Mike Corbitt said.
JEA said it's prepared for anything.
"Down trees, down power lines, major outages, restoring the majority of power to businesses, restaurants, hotels to help out for people that don't have what they have," crew member Matthew Stafford said.
JEA said crews could stay for up to two weeks. It said they could also be moved if things are worse in another area.