Photo By K. COOK
A tree across Washington Street in Winona Park was one of many that were felled Friday afternoon by a powerful storm that left heavy damages and hundreds without power.
Trees and power poles were snapped off and power lines were dropped by a severe storm that moved through Ware County Friday afternoon dumping rain, small hail and winds in excess of 70 mph, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
Apparently no one was injured, he said.
“That storm came so fast, like it was out of nowhere,” said Royal. “There were trees and power lines and limbs down everywhere.”
Several of the trees landed on houses.
Royal said he called in all of his off-duty personnel and it took everyone working to cover the areas of destruction, especially those where live power lines were down across roadways.
Royal said his office received 22 calls of damage during and after the storm, which set in about 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Calls included trees and power lines down on North River Road, Lucy Moore Road, Good Carter Road, State Street at Blackshear Avenue, Augusta Avenue at Cherokee Street, Ben Hill Avenue at Washington Street, Albany Avenue at McKinley Road, Park Avenue, U.S. 1 North at the Ganas Pecan Farm, Nicholls Highway, Fales Road, Blackshear Avenue, Sylvia Lane, Red Keen Road, Lamar Avenue, Strickland Road, Jesse Street, Carter Road, Winona Street at Hilliard Street, Gorman Road and Evan Street, said Royal.
“Most of these roads had trees across them and live power lines down,” said Royal. “We had to stay on the scene until the power companies could repair those lines. Georgia Power and REA worked around the clock Friday and into Saturday to get these lines all repaired and get power back on to the hundreds of customers who were without power.”
Parts of Winona Park were slammed by the destructive weather. Some residents there were without electricity all weekend. Others, one block east of the worst destruction, saw their power restored at 3:15 a.m. Saturday, 10 hours after the storm struck.
After deputies were able to get around to other areas, Royal said, damage was found at Ware Middle School where the auditorium roof and awnings and the gymnasium roof were damaged, a fence around a tennis court was ripped away and a dugout at the baseball field had its roof ripped off.
“Thankfully, we didn’t have any reports of injuries during this time,” said Royal. “This was a powerful storm and it caused massive amounts of damage to houses and property.”
Ware County Fire Department personnel said they were dispatched to several locations in response to the storm, many of which were to trees down on the roads and broken power lines.
Capt. Brian Varnadore said Ware County firemen were summoned to Bickley where several trees were down across roadways and power lines were snapped.
“We stayed up there several hours,” said Varnadore. “I think some houses were without power until Saturday.”
Varnadore said Lucy Moore Road and Beach Highway were especially hard hit by the storm, as well as a couple of other roads in that community.
Varnadore said he had no reports of anyone injured in Bickley.
“The storm was predicted to stay to the north but it reached around and affected the areas closer to town as well,” said Varnadore.