Multiple buildings were reported damaged, with people trapped inside, in northern Bartow County after a tornado touched down late Wednesday morning. At least one person reportedly died when the tornado slammed into Adairsville.
Vehicles were reportedly overturned on I-75 in Bartow County, and the state Department of Transportation said the interstate was closed in both directions near the Ga. 140 exit.
Meanwhile, a tornado warning was issued just before 1 p.m. for Paulding, Cobb, Cherokee and north Fulton counties after radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable off producing a tornado south of Dallas.
“Major structure damage reported in downtown Adairsville,” the National Weather Service reported. “Reports of cars overturned and major structure damage.”
Bartow sheriff’s and fire dispatchers were reporting numerous calls of “trauma and injuries” in the Adairsville area just before 11:30. One call involved an overturned vehicle with an entrapment, and there were numerous roads in the area that were impassable.
Another Bartow fire call just after 11:30 a.m. reported five people trapped in a building in Adairsville.
A large manufacturing plant in Adairsville was leveled by the tornado.
In addition to buildings damaged in downtown Adairsville, there were also reports of buildings damaged and vehicles overturned near the junction of I-75 and Ga. 140 near Adairsville. A reporter and photographer from Channel 2 Action News witnessed the tornado cross I-75.
Channel 2 reported at noon that I-75 was shut down, and that over vehicles, including a tractor-trailer, were overturned on the interstate.
There were also reports of tornado damage north of Adairsville, along Ga. 53 near Calhoun.
Barnsley Gardens, a popular resort near Adairsville, escaped damage from the storm.
“We’re just fine … rain and a little wind, but no damage,” reservations manager Sarah McBee told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She said the resort is about 10 miles south of downtown Adairsville, where the tornado touched down.
All of the late-morning damage came from storms that had developed ahead of a squall line associated with a strong cold front. That squall line was beginning to move into western counties of Georgia at 12:15 p.m., prompting severe thunderstorm warnings until 1 p.m. for Carroll, Haralson, Polk and Paulding counties.
An earlier tornado warning posted Wednesday morning for Cobb, Paulding, Douglas and central Fulton counties was canceled just before 9 a.m. as the a storm that radar indicated had possibly spawned a tornado weakened.
Tornado sirens in Cobb County were activated at 8:15 a.m., but by 8:45, there were no reports of an actual tornado touchdown.
Meanwhile, a tornado watch issued early Wednesday for the northwest corner of Georgia has been expanded to include all of metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
The tornado watch, meaning that conditions are conducive for the development of tornadoes, is in effect until 4 p.m.
Most of Georgia, including all of metro Atlanta, was also under a wind advisory from 6 a.m. to midnight Wednesday, for winds gusting to 40 mph.
The storms and rain that moved through metro Atlanta at mid-morning were in advance of the main squall line, which stretched from the northwest corner of Georgia southwestward through Birmingham and into southern Mississippi at 9:45 a.m.
Those earlier storms were causing flight delays of 30 to 45 minutes at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The National Weather Service said the squall line of storms should move through metro Atlanta during the early afternoon.
“We are looking at some serious weather,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said. The squall line, she said, “has had a history of producing severe storms. We’re looking at wind, lightning, heavy downpours, all of those things, including the potential for isolated tornadoes.”
Minton said the chance of rain is 100 percent Wednesday, when highs will be around 67 degrees.
Behind the front, temperatures will take a nose dive.
Minton is predicting sunny skies and cold temperatures Thursday and Friday, with highs only in the upper 40s and lows in the low to mid-30s.
The weekend outlook is for sunny skies, with highs in the mid-50s and lows in the 30s.
SOURCE: By Mike Morris