Residents across the South on Saturday continued the long process of clean up and recovery after severe weather and tornadoes carved a path of destruction that left at least five people dead and dozens of homes damaged or destroyed.
So far, the strongest of the destructive tornadoes was an EF4 confirmed in the Coweta County, Georgia, community of Newnan. The National Weather Service said the damage was consistent with winds up to 170 mph.
“Right now our hearts are broken, but our spirits are not broken,” Newnan High School Principal Chase Puckett said at a news conference Saturday morning.
The high school is in a part of the city that took the worst of the damage. Twisted metal, insulation and other debris littered the campus Friday morning.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp toured the region Saturday, a day after local emergency responders began to assess the damage.
“We have a lot of work left ahead of us,” Pat Wilson, Coweta County fire chief, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday morning. “We expect we’re going to be out here for some time to come.”
Amy Wright, a resident of the Coweta County town of Newnan, ran to shelter in a bathroom with her four children after looking out her front door with the storm bearing down.
“The sky was lit up and it was thundering and then it got really quiet,” Wright told the AJC. “Then out of nowhere, it started raining and I went back into the house and the walls started shaking. You could hear it coming over the top of the house.”
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