Sudden storm slams city
LaGRANGE — A sudden, violent thunderstorm Wednesday afternoon sent emergency and utility workers scrambling in central and north LaGrange as trees fell on houses and roadways.
Portions of Broad and Vernon streets were closed — among other streets — as limbs blocked lanes and crews worked to remove debris. On nearby Ben Hill Street, a large limb fell on Trudy Walker’s historic home in the 200 block, piercing a hole through the second story roof.
“I was in my car, headed out of the house when I heard it hit,” she said of the limb. “Then it started hailing.”
Walker, who’s lived in the home for five years, said no one was home or injured in the episode. She’s lucky she has homeowner’s insurance, she added.
On Commerce Avenue, debris shattered the back windshield of a car and injured a 4-year-old child, according to Melissa Wortham, a Troup County 911 supervisor. The child was frightened, Wortham reported, but OK.
No one was injurd when a tree limb fell on top of three cars at LaGrange Memorial Library at 115 Alford St. while attendees were inside for the kickoff the annual Story Time program. A tree company removed the large limb from atop the vehicles.
The city-owned wall displaying the mural at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Plaza on Lafayette Square also was damaged with a portion breaking off. Architect Skip Smith, who designed the wall — not the mural — was called to consult on repairs, said Chamber officials.
A large tree on the LaGrange College campus facing Broad Street also toppled during the storm, temporarily stifling traffic until it was cut and removed.
Elsewhere, trees also brought down powerlines at the intersection of Burr and East Depot streets, as well as the Flower Streets neighborhood, but Patrick Bowie, the city’s utilities director, reported only spotty power outages scattered throughout the city.
“There were several of what we call ‘service outages’ around the territory, but nothing large in any one particular area,” Bowie said. “The guys worked until about 9:30 (p.m.) on individual problems.”
The utilities director added that all three of the city’s utility crews worked to restore service.
Several traffic lights were reported inoperable, including at the intersection of Commerce Avenue and New Franklin Road — one of the city’s busiest junctions.
The National Weather Service in Peachtree City issued a hazardous weather bulletin shortly after 11 a.m. warning of possible heavy rain, frequent lightening and gusty winds up to 45 miles per hour. The rainfall began at about 2 p.m. and lasted about 30 minutes.
Matt Sena, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the storm was slow moving and stretched across a wide swath of Troup County. Using radar, he estimated the rainfall.
“It looks like there was a stretch (of rain) that ran from Hogansville to LaGrange, and then down through Baugh’s Crossroads,” Sena said today. “Those areas probably saw about an inch to an inch and a half (of rain), but localized areas could have been higher (in rainfall).”
Sena added that some areas, particularly where trees fell, could have seen wind gusts of between 60 and 70 miles per hour, according to radar data.
— Editor Matthew Strother contributed to this report.