Tornado confirmed in Whitfield Co, cleanup begins
A North Georgia community has a path of destruction that now scars the landscape. An EF-1 tornado hit just east of Cohutta in Whitfield County Monday Night.
Thursday, May 1st 2014, 5:09 pm EDT
WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - A North Georgia community has a path of destruction that now scars the landscape. An EF-1 tornado hit just east of Cohutta in Whitfield County Monday Night.
The bulk of the damage is along Keith Valley Road. You can see large trees snapped like twigs.
Near 100 miles per hour winds ripped large oaks out of the ground, tossing them around Howard Rittenhouse's yard Monday night as he prayed inside his home.
"I just said God protect us," Howard Rittenhouse said, "you could feel the house vibrate slightly but it's more like a constant pressure just pushing on you like someone was outside just pushing on the house."
The light of day revealed just how close the tornado hit.
"We just happened to be on the forefront of the actual twister that sat down probably 200 yards from the house here," he said.
Snapped and twisted trees litter several properties around Keith Valley Road, but some of the most significant damage was to a local farm. The tornado leveled the Bailey family's chicken house that held 160,000 chickens. Many died, but some are still on the loose. It's closed off for now considered a "bio-security" area, so not to harm the surviving chickens.
"It blew my mind when I saw it," Mary Defore said.
A couple streets over, winds tore apart the bases on several mobile homes, even those with cinder blocks.
"We didn't know what it was we just heard something fall," she said.
Residents say they're not surprised to learn the National Weather Service's preliminary report determined it was a tornado that did all this damage. They're just thankful no one was hurt.
"I just said thank you Lord. Your hand of protection is still upon us. He's been protecting me 70 years," Rittenhouse said.
The tornado track also continued over the Tennessee state line in Bradley County along Hughes Lake Road, where it shifted a home off its foundation.