THANK GOODNESS: No known fatalities, only minor injuries reported after tornadoes impact Troup County

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, January 12, 2023

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For nearly half an hour Thursday afternoon, there were simultaneous tornado warnings in Troup County, with one warning for the northern half of the county and another further to the south.

Once the storms passed, the damage was significant, especially in areas such as Lexington Park and Hamilton Road. However, somehow, someway there weren’t any known fatalities, according to Sgt. Stewart Smith with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office.  There were approximately three to four injuries, but Smith said none were considered serious.

Deputy Fire Chief Philip Rice said there were approximately 20 to 25 homes in the Lexington Park neighborhood with significant damage and many others received damage. Rice called it “remarkable” that no one was majorly hurt or killed.

County Manager Eric Mosley said there were approximately three known areas where the tornado touched down — the Abbottsford area, Sewon Boulevard at Pegasus Parkway and the intersection of South Davis/Upper Big Springs Road.

Smith said Stewart Road, Callaway Church Road and Finney Road were closed as of press time Thursday night. Part of Interstate I-185 was also still closed as debris was being removed.

The Troup County School System closed school for Friday.

“This decision was made to prevent putting the safety of our students and staff at risk by trying to get to school and work,” a press release for TCSS said.

TCSS delayed secondary buses Thursday afternoon after the storm system ended Troup County. Elementary buses already on the road had to pull over and wait for the storm to pass. Superintendent Brian Shumate said the district made the best decision it could with the information it had at the time.

“We appreciate our student cooperation and staff leadership in keeping students and staff safe and exercising all of the safety measures that we practice monthly,” Shumate said. “We also appreciate parents’ patience during this process, but student safety was our number one priority.”

Due to the amount of damage, Troup County executed a local emergency declaration. Mosley said Troup County Chairman Patrick Crews approved the designation, as is policy.

The declaration allows for local assistance from the state or federal government, depending on the total amount of damage from the storm.

“Depending on the amount of damage done dollar-wise, there’s a possibility by doing so that allows us to have access to some state if not potentially, federal aid, and disaster is at a threshold,” Mosley said.

City of LaGrange Marketing/Communications Manager Katie Van Schoor said Thursday afternoon that approximately 1,000 residences were without power, but the majority had power restored by press time.  As of press time, Diverse Power was also making progress, with 22.4% of its Troup County customers without power, approximately 3800 of their 16,930 customers.