You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

breaking news

Trump inaugural parade to begin soon

Scary moments as metro area dodges significant storm damage

There’s only one way to sum up this week’s weather: One extreme to the other.

After more than 40 parched days, rain returned to metro Atlanta. And on Wednesday, the rain included strong winds, thunder and possible tornadoes, toppling trees and power lines and disrupting a late fall afternoon.

Some areas were a mess, including southern Cobb County, where a portion of a QuikTrip gas station was blown away on Mableton Parkway. On Northside Parkway in Atlanta, trees were uprooted in front of Martha Jane Jones’ home as she and her dog took shelter in a hall bathroom. A tree crashed through the roof of a Gwinnett family’s home.

The intense weather brought metro Atlanta on edge, forcing schools to shelter students in safe locations and even delay the end of school, allowing storms to move through before school buses departed. But the region was mostly spared significant damage and injuries.

“We feel very blessed,” said Tim Padgett, director of emergency management in Carroll County.

Although possible tornadoes were reported in Carroll and Cobb counties and near the Fulton-Forsyth county line, there was no official confirmation of a twister touching down in his area, Padgett said.

“If it would’ve gotten on the ground, we would’ve had some trouble,” Padgett said.

Jones, 88, was heading to the basement for shelter, but instead she went only as far as the hall bathroom because of the sounds she heard outside. She picked up her frantic dog, Molly, and the two waited in the bathroom.

“The wind, I could hear it, and it was more vicious than I’d ever seen or heard,” Jones said.

The storm knocked out power to her street and her front yard was filled with tree debris, but neither Jones nor her pet were injured. Late Wednesday, just over 3,000 Georgia Power customers were without electricity, the utility reported.

The Vidal family wasn’t at home Wednesday afternoon when the storms barrelled through the Duluth area. A tree crashed through the roof and into a second-story bedroom of the Tina Court home.

The tree rested on the home’s carport as Janet Vidal shuddered and spoke about what could have happened had she been inside the house with her young children.

“I have my son,” she said, “and sometimes I come down and cook and he stays (upstairs) and plays. Just imagining is really scary.”

As fast as the storms rolled in, they rolled out of the area late Wednesday. Gone also are the unseasonably warm temperatures, according to meteorologists. Thursday’s forecast includes plenty of sunshine, but a high temperature of 57 degrees.

AJC staff writers Branden Camp, Tyler Estep, Raisa Habersham and Lauren Foreman contributed to this article.

Next Up in Local

Gwinnett wants you to stop treating your toilet like a trash can
Gwinnett wants you to stop treating your toilet like a trash can

There have been two sewage spills in Gwinnett County this week due to grease, wipes and other waste being dumped down drains and toilets. The county water resources department wants residents to know those objects don’t belong in your pipes. “Remember that toilets are not trash cans,” said Karen Shields, spokesperson for the Gwinnett...
Give Back Connection for Jan. 21
Give Back Connection for Jan. 21

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIESFind ways to volunteer in metro Atlanta and post opportunities at Volunteers needed for DeKalb County homeless count DeKalb County Community Development Department is looking for 100 volunteers to sign up for a street count and survey of the county’s homeless. The count will take place overnight. Volunteers...
Donald Trump’s first official action: Clearing the way for defense pick

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s first action as Commander-in-Chief was a practical one: clearing the way for  James Mattis to serve as his secretary of defense. The retired U.S. Marine Corps general needed a waiver to serve in the Cabinet due to rules designed to maintain civilian control of the military. Both chambers of Congress...
DeKalb daycare owner put toddler in a coma for a month, jury finds
DeKalb daycare owner put toddler in a coma for a month, jury finds

An ex-DeKalb County daycare provider is headed to prison after a 15-month-old boy in her care suffered grave injuries, authorities announced Friday. Evelyn Bruce-Mighty, 59, owner of Angela's Little Daycare in Lithonia, was convicted of aggravated battery and child cruelty. The toddler underwent brain surgery and was in a coma for more than a month...
DeKalb Jamaican spot rechecked after failed health inspection
DeKalb Jamaican spot rechecked after failed health inspection

Update: The restaurant has now scored 89. Read the full report here. A DeKalb County Jamaican restaurant failed a recent health check with the inspector noting a variety of issues. Taste of Jamaica, located at 6116 Covington Highway in Lithonia, received a 65/U, according to the report. The report notes concerns including dried blood in the...
More Stories