Storm largely spared area

Published 6:38 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

THE VASHTI COUNSELING CENTER at 719 Shotwell St. had to be evacuated Wednesday afternoon after a large, hollow oak tree split in two down its trunk and part of it fell on the building’s roof. No one was hurt in the incident, which happened about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

While the stormy weather that passed through Wednesday and Thursday caused widespread damage and casualties across the Southeast, Decatur County was largely spared.

A residence on Faceville-Attapulgus Road was badly damaged by fire early Thursday morning after lightning struck it, according to Decatur County Fire and Rescue. No one was at the home at the time.

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Decatur County Schools started about 15 minutes late Thursday morning due to severe weather warnings being issued around 7:30 a.m. School buses let off all of their passengers, including middle and high school students, at elementary school stops so that the students could take cover inside.

One of the National Weather Service’s severe weather warnings was for a possible tornado headed for Attapulgus; however, there were no reports of a tornado touching down. Multiple citizens reported frequent lightning, heavy rain and forceful winds around Attapulgus at approximately 7:40 Thursday.

Some of the more notable storm-related damage in Bainbridge occurred on Wednesday, when conditions were clear but very windy.

A large oak tree that was apparently hollow on the inside split in two down its trunk, sending large pieces of wood crashing down onto the Vashti Counseling Center at 719 Shotwell St. at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. While the metal roof was partially caved in, employees and customers got out safely. Bainbridge Public Safety officers responded to the scene; Officer Humberto Dean was stung by one of many bees that had been disturbed when the tree split.

A large tree had fallen across the intersection of College and West streets on Wednesday morning; Bainbridge Public Works responded to clear the tree off the road.

A brush fire broke out around midday Wednesday at the city’s old landfill, located near John Johnson School off South West Street. According to city officials, Bainbridge Public Works employees had been burning tree limbs and other natural debris that had fallen onto roads due to the wind. As the pile grew larger and the wind blew harder, the fire got out of control but was soon after contained by BPS.

Maximum wind speeds of 34.6 miles per hour were recorded Wednesday at the Donalsonville Airport. Locally, about 0.6-0.9 inches of rain was received on Thursday, according to government weather gauges.