The air in Canton was filled with the sound of chainsaws as residents dug out from under trees felled by Thursday night’s severe storms, as the National Weather Service confirmed a small tornado touched down.
The tornado was an EF-1, according to Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Robby Westbrook, with winds of approximately 105 mph. Combined with strong straight winds, it caused widespread damage and left at least nine people with non-life threatening injuries.
“It hit near the intersection of Marietta Road and Hickory Flat Highway,” he said.
“The winds were so powerful that they pulled the gas pumps at a filling station out of the ground,” Westbrook continued, after spending much of his day with scientists from the National Weather Service, assessing the damage.
Nine people were hurt, seven of them at that intersection. It was still blocked Friday evening. Authorities said it will remain blocked for at least another day.
Thousands of Georgia Power and EMC customers remained in the dark after Thursday night’s intense storms. Many, like Joe Garcia and his family, didn’t have to look far to see the cause of their problems. Across the street lay the remains of a huge tree that splintered in the tremendous winds, toppling onto power lines.
“The wires started bouncing up and down real fast like jump ropes, and then, snap!” he said.
Friday afternoon, Garcia and his family were waiting for the power to come back on; something they found out might not happen for a while.
Joyce Fett, Garcia’s daughter-in-law, was furious.
“I just went shopping!” she exclaimed. “I got meat in the freezer downstairs!”