TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — Severe thunderstorms and a suspected tornado ripped their way through metro Atlanta and north Georgia Thursday afternoon leaving behind destruction to several Troup County neighborhoods.
Sgt. Stewart Smith of Troup County Sheriff's Office said it appears that the community is very fortunate to have avoided any major injuries or any deaths. He said the situation continues to evolve as they make progress in surveying damage around the city.
Smith explained that there is damage in the City of LaGrange and on the outskirts of Troup County. Downed trees blocking roads continues to impact traffic as those roads impacted remained closed, Smith said.
Interstate 185 southbound near LaGrange will be closed for the "foreseeable future," due to downed trees, Smith said.
"Interstate-185 is a major connector between LaGrange and Columbus," Smith said. "It's basically the length of the loop you would take from I-85 to get on I-185. There's lots and lots of trees -- it looks like pine trees that are down in that area."
Power outages are also prevalent in the area, as well. LaGrange is serviced by Diverse Power, so they along with Georgia Power are working to restore power to the community.
Smith confirmed there is a lot of structural damage in many of the industrial areas in LaGrange.
"The big thing we're just trying to tell people if you don't have to travel, don't get out sightseeing and get in the way of these first responders and electrical crews," Smith urged.
First responders are out in the community as a priority and getting to those who have trees downed to ensure that they are safe, Smith said. He added that first responders are trying to make sure that no power lines are involved in regard to the fallen trees.
Smith said that there were delays in the dismissal of certain schools, but he wasn't sure to the extent if some students had to stay passed school hours due to the storms.