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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.

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