Intense but scattered wind and lightning blasted the Thomson area about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, felling trees and power lines. There were no reports of injury, but thousands of homes in McDuffie and Warren counties were reportedly still without power at midday.
Steve Chalker, of Jefferson EMC, reported initial power outages of 6,000 and said about 2,000 had been restored. Jeff Wilson, a media spokesman for Georgia Power, said the company began with about 7,000 outages. An estimated 1,200 in the county and 2,800 in Thomson remained without power late in the morning. Both utility company spokesmen said they would remain on the job until service to all customers is restored.
The Belle Meade area on Thomson's north side was particularly hard hit. Thomson Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson, who lives in that neighborhood, said at least 10 crews were working to restore power Tuesday morning. He said the wind toppled trees and a string of utility poles.
Near downtown, the blast overturned eight trees in three backyards in the 400 block of Whiteoak Road.
The wind split a 3-foot-thick oak tree in the backyard of 407 Whiteoak Road, the home of John and Bett Wiley.
"I didn't hear it fall. I heard the storm, and I saw the tree was horizontal across the yard," she said. She did not tell her husband "because I knew that he wouldn't sleep another wink."
"It was a miracle that pecan tree didn't fall across the house," she said.
Another oak fell next door, at the home of Inez Stephens. She said she was surprised that a dead tree in her backyard survived the storm.
Lonnie Crawley, of 411 Whiteoak, said that about 2:38 a.m. he saw the window blinds being pulled against a window as though the window would be sucked from the home. He agreed the oak tree that just missed his car had survived other storms. "We moved here in '45 or '47, and that tree was full grown then," he said.
Willie Hill, who helped clean up the debris there Tuesday, said his neighborhood had no damage from the storm.
"I live over on Boulevard Place, and there was nothing," he said.
Jerry Cox, who also helped a Hill Street homeowner, said, "I live over in Boneville by the tracks, and the only thing we had blown over was a trash can."