PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
513 PM EST FRI FEB 20 2009

...PORTION OF THOMAS COUNTY GEORGIA TORNADO UPGRADED TO EF-3 NEAR 
BOSTON...

...STORM SURVEY CONDUCTED IN GRADY COUNTY GEORGIA THIS AFTERNOON 
CONFIRMS EF-2 TORNADO DAMAGE...

BASED ON ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE STORM SURVEY DATA IN EASTERN 
THOMAS COUNTY...THE TORNADO IN THIS AREA IS BEING UPGRADED TO AN 
EF-3 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS BETWEEN 140 AND 145 MPH. THIS IS BASED ON 
THE SEVERAL TREES ALONG THE EAST SIDE OF SALEM ROAD THAT WERE 
COMPLETELY DEBARKED. THIS UPGRADE IN RATING APPLIES ONLY TO THIS 
PORTION OF THE TORNADO TRACK NEAR THE COMMUNITY OF BOSTON...ABOUT 2 
MILES NORTH OF U.S. HIGHWAY 84. NOTE THAT THIS TORNADO FIRST TOUCHED 
DOWN ALONG FIVE FORKS ROAD NORTH OF U.S. HIGHWAY 84 AND CONTINUED 
EASTWARD...LIFTING BEFORE REACHING GEORGIA STATE ROAD 33 IN THOMAS 
COUNTY. 

INFORMATION ON THE FIRST TORNADO THAT STARTED IN GRADY COUNTY AND 
CONTINUED THROUGH MUCH OF THOMAS COUNTY IS PROVIDED BELOW. 

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE CONDUCTED A STORM SURVEY 
IN GRADY COUNTY TO DETERMINE THE INTENSITY OF A TORNADO THAT TRACKED 
ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE COUNTY EARLY THURSDAY 
MORNING. 

THIS SURVEY FOUND THE INITIAL TOUCHDOWN OF THE TORNADO OCCURRED NEAR 
RAWLS ROAD TO THE WEST OF GEORGIA STATE ROAD 93 IN THE VICINITY OF 
LEWIS DRIVE. THIS WAS THE FIRST TOUCH DOWN OF A LONG TRACK TORNADO 
THAT CONTINUED INTO THOMAS COUNTY. DAMAGE ALONG RAWLS ROAD WAS 
LIMITED TO TREES BEING SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONE TRAVEL TRAILER FOR 
HORSES WAS TIPPED OVER. WIND SPEEDS IN THIS AREA WERE ESTIMATED TO 
BE 60 TO 70 MPH...WHICH CORRESPONDS TO AN EF-0 RATING. 

THE TORNADO CONTINUED EASTWARD AND MOVED ONE DOUBLE WIDE MODULAR 
HOME OFF ITS FOUNDATION ON THE WEST SIDE OF HOLSTEIN LANE. THE 
DECKING AND TWO SMALL OUTBUILDINGS WERE DESTROYED AROUND THIS 
MODULAR HOME. DAMAGE IN THIS AREA WAS RATED AS A STRONG EF-1 WITH 
MAXIMUM WINDS OF 105 MPH. 

ON THE EAST SIDE OF HOLSTEIN LANE...ONE LARGE CINDER-BLOCK BUILDING 
WAS SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED. THE TOP LEVEL OF THE STRUCTURE WAS 
TOTALLY DESTROYED WITH THE LOWER LEVEL EXTERIOR WALLS PARTIALLY 
COLLAPSED ON THE WEST AND SOUTH SIDES OF THE STRUCTURE. THREE LARGE 
CONCRETE GRAIN SILOS TO THE SOUTH OF THIS BUILDING WERE 
SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. ABOUT 50 YARDS TO THE EAST OF 
THE SILOS WERE TWO LARGE BARNS WHICH WERE BOTH COMPLETELY DESTROYED. 
DAMAGE IN THIS AREA WAS RATED AS AN EF-2 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 120 
MPH. DAMAGE WIDTH OF THE TORNADO IN THIS AREA WAS APPROACHING 100 
YARDS. FROM THIS POINT EASTWARD INTO THOMAS COUNTY...IT APPEARS THAT 
THE TORNADO REMAINED ON THE GROUND. 

THE TORNADO CROSSED GEORGIA STATE ROAD 93 JUST NORTH OF LEWIS LANE 
AND CONTINUED EASTWARD INTO A PINE FOREST ALONG THE NORTH SIDE OF 
LOWER CAIRO ROAD. AS IN THOMAS COUNTY...NUMEROUS PINE TREES ALONG 
THE CENTRAL PATH OF THE VORTEX WERE SNAPPED. NEAR PLANTATION DRIVE 
331 ADJACENT TO LOWER CAIRO ROAD...DAMAGE CONSISTENT WITH THAT SEEN 
IN WESTERN THOMAS COUNTY WAS OBSERVED WITH OVER 95 PERCENT OF THE 
PINE TREES ALONG THE PATH SNAPPED. DAMAGE WIDTH AT THIS POINT HAD 
INCREASED TO 250 YARDS. WIND SPEEDS IN THIS AREA WERE ESTIMATED TO 
BE NEAR 125 MPH...WHICH CORRESPONDS TO AN EF-2. 

THE TORNADO CROSSED INTO THOMAS COUNTY ALONG LOWER CAIRO ROAD... 
WHERE DAMAGE WAS EXTENSIVE TO A PINE FOREST PLANTATION. IT IS 
ESTIMATED THAT OVER 95 PERCENT OF THE PINE TREES IN THE PATH OF THE 
TORNADO WERE SNAPPED. THREE HOMES WERE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE 
TORNADO PATH AND RECEIVED MINOR TO MODERATE DAMAGE...WITH ONE HOUSE 
LOSING PART OF ITS ROOF. A BARN AND TWO GARAGES WERE SIGNIFICANTLY 
DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. WITHIN THIS AREA OF THOMAS COUNTY...THE PATH 
WIDTH OF THE TORNADO WAS ESTIMATED TO BE BETWEEN 300 AND 400 YARDS 
WIDE WITH A MAXIMUM INTENSITY OF 125 MPH...WHICH CORRESPONDS TO A 
RATING OF EF-2. 

THE TORNADO CONTINUED EASTWARD AND BEGAN MAKING ONLY INTERMITTENT 
CONTACT WITH THE GROUND AS IT APPROACHED U.S. HIGHWAY 319 IN THE 
VICINITY OF CINDY ROAD. DAMAGE IN THE SURROUNDING SUBDIVISIONS WAS 
LARGELY LIMITED TO TREES SNAPPING OR UPROOTING AND LANDING ON HOMES. 
IN THIS AREA THE PATH WIDTH WAS ESTIMATED TO BE AROUND 200 YARDS 
WITH A MAXIMUM INTENSITY OF 90 MPH...MAKING THE TORNADO ON THIS 
PORTION OF THE TRACK AN EF-1.

THE TORNADO CROSSED U.S. 319 MOVING EAST NEAR METCALF ROAD AND MOVED 
TOWARD THE SOUTHWEST GEORGIA STATE HOSPITAL LOCATED JUST SOUTH OF 
PINE TREE BLVD. THE TORNADO SNAPPED MANY PINE TREES ALONG THE PATH 
THROUGH THIS AREA AND EVEN REMOVED TWO AIR CONDITIONING UNITS FROM 
THE ROOF OF ONE OF THE BUILDINGS WITHIN THE HOSPITAL COMPLEX. PATH 
WIDTH OF THE TORNADO AT THIS POINT IS ESTIMATED TO BE NEAR 200 YARDS 
WITH A MAXIMUM INTENSITY OF 105 MPH...WHICH IS STILL WITHIN THE EF-1 
CATEGORY. 

THE TORNADO BEGAN TO WEAKEN WHILE CONTINUING EASTWARD TOWARD U.S. 19 
SOUTH OF THE GLEN ARVEN COUNTRY CLUB. THE TORNADO CROSSED U.S. 19 
JUST SOUTH OF SUNSET DRIVE BEFORE LIFTING. DAMAGE IN THIS AREA WAS 
LIMITED TO POWER LINES AND A FEW TREES. PATH WIDTH DECREASED TO A 
MAXIMUM OF 75 YARDS AND THE INTENSITY WAS ONLY 70 MPH...WHICH 
CORRESPONDS TO AN EF-0 RATING. 

A BRIEF TOUCHDOWN OF THE SAME TORNADO OCCURRED ALONG COUNTY FARM 
ROAD AT THE THOMAS COUNTY LANDFILL. A STORAGE BUILDING WAS 
SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED WITH DEBRIS BEING BLOWN SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS 
FROM THE BUILDING SITE. INTENSITY IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE BEEN AROUND 
100 MPH...WHICH IS AN EF-1 RATING. 

NO FURTHER AREAS OF DAMAGE WERE REPORTED ALONG THE TRACK OF THIS 
SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MILES. THE PATH LENGTH 
OF THIS ENTIRE TORNADO FROM WHERE IT FIRST TOUCHED DOWN IN GRADY 
COUNTY TO WHERE IT LIFTED IN THOMAS COUNTY WAS NEARLY 17 MILES. 

ACCORDING TO THOMAS COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT...9 MOBILE HOMES 
WERE CONSIDERED DESTROYED. 20 SINGLE FAMILY HOMES WERE CONSIDERED 
DESTROYED. A TOTAL OF 160 STRUCTURES WERE AFFECTED BY THIS TORNADO 
TO SOME DEGREE. 

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND ITS 
APPRECIATION TO THE THOMAS COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT AND EMERGENCY 
MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOR ASSISTING IN THE STORM SURVEY ON THURSDAY. WE 
ALSO WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE GRADY COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 
AGENCY FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE WITH THE STORM SURVEY ON FRIDAY.  

$$

GODSEY/MROCZKA


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