Straight-line winds hit the north end of Bartow County Friday night, leaving trees and power lines down, and causing property damage to parts of Adairsville. Georgia Power reported about 7:30 p.m. 14,000 customers statewide were without power, with most in Rome and Adairsville.
"Right now we cannot confirm there was a tornado," said Bryan Cox, Bartow County Fire Department Battalion Chief. "What we've got this far appears to be straight line winds. Doris Road out in the Barnsley Gardens area had one barn totally destroyed and had a roof blow off of another barn. Red Road in Adairsville had a tree blown down into a house and then King Road in Adairsville had a roof blow off a house and a back porch blow off of it. Right now those four structures are all that we know of that have moderate to heavy damage."
The two barns on Doris Road belong to Dr. Robert Wunderle, who said both will be repaired. Speaking by phone, Wunderle said from the information he was given, it sounded like a tornado plowed through his property, sparing his home under construction across the street.
Massive trees felled in the storm rested across the farm, as though they were plucked from the ground and placed on their sides. A person at the scene said in addition to the damaged barns, a car, fencing and a horse were lost in the storm. The animal was later found among the downed trees.
Cox said Trimble Hollow Road and Holcomb Road had trees and power lines down as well as Old Highway 41 in Adairsville. The line of winds moved in a diagonal direction to Barnsley Gardens running northeast through Adairsville, Folsom and Pine Log.
"At this time we have fire department crews out working clearing the road ways where it's safe to clear, checking on residents in the area. The power company has multiple power crews up working, and Bartow County Road Department has multiple crews out working clearing the roads also," Cox said. "Power is going to be out for a while, it's hard to say [for how long]. [The power company] can't give us any preliminary at this time on how long [power will be out]. We do know at this time where the trees went down we have multiple power poles broken, so that's going to prolong the process. Right now there are no injuries to civilian or emergency workers, so we're just piddling through it right now."
Major roads like Highway 41 and Interstate 75 are open, but Cox encouraged anyone who doesn't have to be on the roads tonight to stay home.
"Right now what we're doing is working through the area and keeping an eye on what's next and looking at the radar. We've got a couple more slow lines to deal with," he said.
"We really don't need people out now rubbernecking and trying to sightsee through the night because we're trying to get as many of these trees up," Cox said, "but there's going to be some we have to wait on that will be marked. Tomorrow morning it will tell another tale."
Cartersville Fire Department and Public Works said no reports of damages were called in Friday.
A shift commander with the Bartow County Sheriff's Office echoed Cox's reports, adding that the deputies also had worked "just a few accidents."
The Georgia State Patrol reported no serious accidents, and only several related to the weather in Bartow County.
The storms were part of a line that left nine people dead from Oklahoma and Arkansas. The storms began late Thursday in Oklahoma, where at least five tornadoes touched down and two people were killed. The system then pushed into Arkansas, killing seven more. Dozens of others were hurt.
By midday Friday, the storms marched into Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi. At least three twisters touched down in Mississippi, causing widespread damage but only one serious injury.
The forecast calls for a chance of thunderstorms with new rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch. There is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2 p.m. Saturday, with wind gusts near 30 mph possible.