Severe storm causes damages

Published 12:44 pm Monday, March 30, 2009

High winds that accompanied a severe thunderstorm that passed through south Georgia and north Florida Saturday ripped a mobile home from its foundation, leaving an elderly Decatur County woman trapped inside.

Shortly after 3 p.m., 78-year-old Dolly Childree was inside her home at 2979 Dothan Road when an apparent downburst—an intense downdraft that create damaging winds on the ground, sometimes created by a thunderstorm—lifted the home from its foundation, flipping it onto its roof behind the home.

Childree’s son, Andy Childree, and his family live nearby—approximately 300 yards from the home through a slightly wooded area. Her daughter-in-law, Jeannie Adkins, said they realized something was wrong when they saw a Sheriff’s deputy pull into the driveway, apparently only minutes after the damage occurred.

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Sgt. Greg McMillan, who was first on the scene, said he was driving on U.S. 84 West toward Bainbridge at approximately 3:15 p.m. Saturday when he saw the damaged home. Sgt. McMillan said he at first believed the damage had occurred during the previous day’s storm, but quickly turned around once he saw debris in the roadway from the home. McMillan said when he arrived, Ms. Childree was conscious and standing inside the upside-down home, trapped by debris.

Adkins said her mother-in-law told her she was shielded from the storm by one of the walls of the home and was able to wave a pillow in the air for help when McMillan arrived on the scene.

EMS arrived and transported Childree to Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge. She received stitches for lacerations to her forehead and arm and suffered bruising, but amazingly did not have any broken bones, said Adkins.

“Everyone was wonderful providing help and support,” said Adkins. “I really think we saw a miracle.”

She said it was amazing that police and rescue workers were so close by and able to respond to the scene so quickly.

Adkins said Childree was expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

Decatur County Fire and Rescue and area volunteer firefighters from Brinson and Blackjack responded at the home.

Saturday’s severe weather followed a Friday morning storm that caused structural damage in the same area, northwest of Bainbridge, including a mobile home that was severely damaged at 474 Hanover Road.

Area flooding

Decatur County was again hit by severe weather on Saturday as a string of storms moving through the area causing flooding over a number of roadways.

U.S. 84 East at the Grady County line was shut down for a period of time and flooding was seen on Highways 253, 310 as well as a number of Bainbridge City and Decatur County roads due to the water accumulation on the roads, according to Decatur County Fire and Rescue Chief Charlie McCann.

According to the Attapulgus Research Station, Attapulgus received 2.36 inches of rain on Saturday with maximum-speed wind gusts of 29.2 miles per hour. From March 26 to March 28, 5.3 inches of rain were reported to have fallen in Attapulgus.

Road closures

Several Decatur County roads remained closed Monday morning due to heavy rain on Saturday, March 28.

According to the Decatur County Road Department, the following roads were closed as of 11:45 a.m. Monday:

Nebo Church Road

Spooner Road, from 204 Spooner Road to Murray Road

Batten Road, from Robert Stephens Road to the work camp

Pecan Street, from 209 to 202 Pecan Street

Whispering Pines Drive, from 151 Whispering Pines Drive to Whispering Pines Lane

A portion of Cedar Grove Road

Frank Brown Road, from Spooner Road to Jinks Crossing Road