Breaking News
More () »

Severe storms leave path of destruction across Georgia

11Alive had teams around the state to bring you updates on the aftermath of the wave of severe weather.

ATLANTA — North Georgia was under an enhanced risk, Level 3 out of 5, for severe weather for Thursday, Jan. 12. Georgians experienced damaging winds up to 60 mph along with the possibility of a few tornadoes. The NWS will be out to survey storm damage and investigate reports of possible tornados Friday.

Several counties were under a tornado watch through Thursday evening and a majority of the north Georgia region was under, at one point, a severe thunderstorm warning.

11Alive had teams around the state to provide updates as the storm moved across the metro.

Watch a recap of the coverage below.

TRACKING THE DAMAGE: Reports throughout metro Atlanta region as storm system sweeps through

Updates from Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

11:20 p.m. 11Alive's Chief Meteorologist Chris Holcomb provided another update Thursday night as storms cleared out. Here's what you can expect on Friday: 

11:15 p.m. | We've learned a mobile home community in Henry County is under a shelter-in-place order. The Indian Creek Mobile Home Community sustained heavy damage and crews are trying to rescue residents and get them to safety. 

11:00 p.m | Crews worked to clear debris in Griffin Thursday night. 11Alive's Cody Alcorn gives us a live look at some of the damage: 

10:56 p.m. | A curfew was issued Thursday at 10 p.m. in Griffin and will remain in effect until 6 a.m. City officials said residents should remain at home during the curfew period unless they are considered "exempt individuals."

10:08 p.m. | A 5-year-old died in the wake of severe weather passing through Butts County Thursday.

The deadly storm brought down a tree Thursday afternoon that fell on a car that was traveling down Hailey Road in Jackson, according to the Butts County Medical Examiner.

No other details were made available.

9:45 p.m. | NWS will survey storm damage Friday.

So far, surveyors are scheduled to visit Troup, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding and Butts counties where a suspected tornado likely passed through.

Other areas also suffered extensive damage due to the storm, the NWS said. 

"Due to the extent (and magnitude) of damage across the area, it will likely take several days to see everything," the NWS alert reads.

Friday's priority will to start ground surveys of a potentially long-track/significant tornado that tracked across parts of the aforementioned counties.

RELATED: NWS to survey damage Friday morning, final report to take several days

9:40 p.m. | LaGrange Police said around 30 homes in the Baldwin Park, Lexington neighborhood was severely damaged in the string of storms Thursday afternoon. 

"This is an estimate, the last official county was 21 but looks to be more," a spokesperson with the police department said. 

Somewhere between six to 10 houses were also damaged by Buck Murphy Road, the department added.

No injuries have been reported.

9:36 p.m. | Troup County government offices will have a two-hour delayed start Friday with businesses opening at 10 a.m.

Leaders said it's to give additional flexibility to staff impacted by Thursday's severe weather. For more news updates, follow the county's website.

9:19 p.m. | Uprooted trees have been spotted in Griffin. One vehicle was crushed under the weight of one.

11Alive's Cody Alcorn has been surveying the damage. Follow his updates on Twitter.

Credit: Cody Alcorn

9:16 p.m. | Troup County Fire crews are focusing on an area along southbound I-85 at mile marker 47. 

Trees are blocking the roadway and three to four people had to be rushed to the hospital, according to firefighters. 

"Some of these injuries had to do with vehicle accidents. The damage is spread out -- particularly on the western side, include the City of LaGrange," officials said.

No fatalities have been reported.

9 p.m. | Henry County has issued a shelter-in-place order, specifically in the area by the Indian Creek Mobile Home Community.

PSA - Public Service Announcement Please shelter in place and avoid the Indian Creek Mobile Home Community and the...

Posted by Henry County Police Department on Thursday, January 12, 2023

8:43 p.m. | Students are still stuck at four middle schools in Griffin, Spalding County. Below is the list:

  • Carver Road Middle
  • Cowan Road Middle
  • Rehoboth Road Middle
  • Kennedy Road Middle

8:25 p.m. | Several cars in a Walmart parking lot in Griffin suffered damage from the high winds and potential tornado that stormed through the area.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries.

Watch our story below:

8:15 p.m. | Emergency crews are asking people to be safe in the aftermath of possible tornados. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined the following tips to stay safe after the storm:

  • If trapped, attract attention to yourself
  • Check for injuries 
  • Be careful near damaged buildings
  • Stay away from power lines
  • Drink safe water. Eat safe food.
  • Be aware of possible structural, electrical, or gas-leak hazards
  • If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles

The CDC goes into further detail about the bullet points above. Check out its full guide here.

8:12 p.m. | The University of Georgia's Griffin campus is closed Friday due to storm damage. 

UGA-Griffin said to keep an eye on updates via UGA's Emergency News and Information website.

7:41 p.m. | The structure of a Dollar General in Griffin can be seen severely damaged after a suspected tornado ripped through the city.

7:37 p.m. | Griffin-Spalding schools announced they will be closed Friday. Essential employees have been told to report at 8:30 a.m., but all other students and staff will remain home.

7:36 p.m. | Jasper County schools will be closed on Friday due to impacts from the storm. They announced a makeup will be made at a later date.

7:24 p.m. | A Hobby Lobby in Griffin suffered major damage after a suspected tornado ripped through the area. Take a look.

6:45 p.m. | Students were stuck at four middle schools in Griffin, Spalding County. Below is the list:

  • Carver Road Middle
  • Cowan Road Middle
  • Rehoboth Road Middle
  • Kennedy Road Middle

6:45 p.m. | Henry County public schools have canceled class for Friday, Jan. 12.

6:34 p.m. | Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency and has ordered all relevant agencies to respond with "an all-hands-on-deck approach" to impacted communities.

6:24 p.m. | Crews in Cobb County said 18 homes are damaged and 14 families are displaced in the neighborhood by Ivy Log Drive in Austell. No significant injuries have been reported, according to emergency crews.

Cobb County Fire said crews have responded to several calls for power lines that are down, trees in the roadway and trees on homes.

People are encouraged to report damage online to the agency using this link.

Cobb DOT continues to clear downed trees countywide; as of this writing, they have cleared 25 roads and assisted in clearing 11 flooded roadways.

6:21 p.m. | Buildings have been destroyed in Griffin, Spalding County. The NWS is reporting that a possible tornado did move through the area with several structures damaged in its path.

6:15 p.m. | The Spalding County Sheriff's Office is asking people to stay home as public safety agencies work to respond to those calling for help following a string of severe weather.

"As you are well aware, we have had what appears to be tornado damage on both the east and west sides of Spalding County and the City of Griffin," he said. "Be patient, everyone is working as fast and as hard as they can to clear roads, restore power, check on folks, and get you home or to work."

As you are well aware, we have had what appears to be tornado damage on both the east and west sides of Spalding County...

Posted by Spalding County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, January 12, 2023

6:09 p.m. | Georgia Power teams are responding to damage across the state from high winds, heavy rain and reported tornadoes safely and as quickly as possible as storms clear.

The agency is encouraging people to sign up for its outage alerts and to follow updates on its outage map.

6:07 p.m. | The NWS office of Atlanta, which is in Peachtree City, said there was a suspected tornado that damaged parts of southeast LaGrange, Troup County.

6:02 p.m. | 11Alive is tracking damage across north Georgia.

5:59 p.m. | Fulton County EMA is working to respond to reports of downed trees and powerlines.

The agency said there are no reports of significant damage.

5:53 p.m. | Four middle schools in Spalding County sheltered in place, according to Deandre Smith, citizen outreach for the county. The children at the schools are safe and crews are working to get them to their families now that the worst of the storm is over.

He said county crews are working calls of entrapment, people who get out of their home, and downed trees and power lines.

5:49 p.m. | As the severe weather threat weakens in metro Atlanta the sun is coming out and people in Clayton County saw a welcomed sight after the rain cleared out.

Credit: 11Alive

5:42 p.m. | A tornado watch has been issued for Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Glascock; Greene, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Muscogee, Oglethorpe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Twiggs, Upson, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilcox, Wilkes, Wilkinson counties. 

5:38 p.m. | A large tree has fallen onto a home in the Cameron Crossing neighborhood in Acworth. The homeowners said it happened around 3:30 p.m. and no one was hurt.

Watch the report below.

5:36 p.m. | A Dollar General in Griffin has suffered severe damage.

Spalding County at one point was under both a tornado warning and a severe thunderstorm warning.

The photo below is from Phillip Inglis.

Credit: Phillip Inglish

5:33 p.m. | Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Oglethorpe and Oconee counties until 6 p.m. 

5:24 p.m. | As much of metro Atlanta is under a severe thunderstorm warning, delays are mounting at the airport.

At the moment, Hartsfield Jackson is reporting 30-minute delays for flights.

5:23 p.m. | City of College Park leaders said facilities will be closed for the rest of the evening due to inclement weather. 

The city anticipates operating during normal business hours Friday. 

5:17 p.m. | At the moment, all tornado warnings have expired in north Georgia. However, with severe thunderstorm warnings in effect for a majority of the region there is still potential for warnings to upgrade.

5:16 p.m. | Neighbors talk about the extent of damage in Austell, where a warehouse experience extensive damage during the spurt of severe weather.

5:12 p.m. | The Troup County Sheriff's Office is asking people to stay indoors and stay off the roads.

We have no way to post all the roads that are shut down. Please do not get on the roads!

Posted by Troup County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, January 12, 2023

5:10 p.m. | Georgia Power said nearly 50,000 homes are impacted by the weather. 

Credit: Georgia Power

5:01 p.m. | A tornado warning has been issued for Morgan, Newton, Jasper, Butts, Putnam counties. It is set to expire at 5:30 p.m. 

5 p.m. | 11Alive is tracking storm damage in the area. At the moment, there have been no reports of injuries.

Damage report updates can be found here.

4:56 p.m. | Carroll County Sheriff's Office said Fairfield Plantation has been heavily damaged by the severe weather.

"Luckily no injuries have been reported as of this time. Fairfield Plantation got hit pretty hard and the POA building at the front gate took the brunt of the damage," the agency said in a statement.

We received reports of damage, trees down, and power outages throughout the county with the latest storm that passed...

Posted by Carroll County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, January 12, 2023

4:54 p.m. | Henry County emergency managers said there are trees down across roads and houses in the area. The agency is reporting 2,500 homes are without power in Locust Grove.

4:52 p.m. | Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Clarke, Walton, Newton, Oconee, Morgan and Barrow counties until 5:15 p.m.

4:50 p.m. | The NWS is reporting "major structural damage" at a Hobby Lobby and a Walmart store in Griffin, Spalding County. 

Officials said power lines are down around 1600 Hwy 19.

The area is currently under a severe thunderstorm warning.

4:47 p.m. | Hail, rain, and dreary conditions have been reported across north Georgia. 

Click through the photos below from our 11Alive StormTracker community.  

4:45 p.m. | FAA's ground order remains in effect at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

11Alive StormTracker Joanne Mahoney is safe inside a plane awaiting takeoff.

Credit: Joanne Mahoney

4:43 p.m. | 11Alive Meteorologist Nicole Hartford is advising drivers to be careful as storms move through metro Atlanta.

4:41 p.m. | The NWS has expired the tornado warning for Rockdale, Henry and Newton counties early.

"The tornado threat has diminished," the NWS said in a newly issued severe weather statement. 

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the area.

4:37 p.m. | Cobb County is asking drivers to avoid traveling in the Austell area, especially around Blairs Bridge Road and Oak Ridge Parkway.

"Cobb Fire and Emergency Services crews are working on multiple reports of storm damage in the area. There is damage to a warehouse complex (pictured) and trees in several homes nearby. Some roads are closed by fallen trees," authorities said.

TRAVEL / WEATHER DAMAGE ALERT Avoid all travel in the Austell area around Blairs Bridge Road, Oak Ridge Parkway, and the...

Posted by Cobb County Government on Thursday, January 12, 2023

4:34 p.m. | Butts, Henry, Newton counties under tornado warning until 5:15 p.m.

4:30 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Jasper, Lamar, Monroe counties until 5:15 p.m. 

4:28 p.m. | The NWS said Spalding County's tornado warning has turned into a "particularly dangerous situation" - or PDS tornado warning - adding that a radar-confirmed tornado was tracked in the area.

The twister is moving 60 mph in the area by Griffin as it approaches in Butts County and southern Henry County.

4:25 p.m. | DeKalb County EMA said a tornado was spotted near Caldwell Road by Redding Road near Brookhaven.

No injuries have been reported, according to the agency.

Only the NWS can confirm if a tornado has passed through the area. They often use the language of "reported tornado" or "radar-confirmed tornado" with the strength and formal confirmation of a storm happening after its survey.

4:24 p.m. | The NWS has expired the tornado warning for Meriwether and Pike counties. Paulding County remains under the advisory.

4:23 p.m. | An electrical transformer has come down and is on fire on Lakeside Drive in Atlanta at the intersection of the duck pond. Atlanta Fire crews are in the area. 

There may be downed wires; crews are asking people to stay clear of the area.

4:20 p.m. | DeKalb County EOC is reporting 1,483 power outages.

4:17 p.m. | MARTA is reporting service delays. Due to fallen tree limbs across the trackway near Lindbergh Center and Lakewood, northbound and southbound service is being impacted.

MARTA is also reporting bus route cancelations. Check its Twitter for updates.

4:14 p.m. | Tornado warning issued for Clayton, Henry, Newton, Rockdale counties until 4:45 p.m

4:12 p.m. | Rabun County is under a severe thunderstorm warning for 4:15 p.m.

4:08 p.m. | Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Gwinnett, DeKalb, Walton, Barrow, Newton, Rockdale, Clayton, Oconee, Clarke and Henry counties until 4:45 p.m.

4:06 p.m. | Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Harris, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Talbot, Taylor, Upson counties until 4:45 p.m.

4:04 p.m. | NWS Atlanta, located in Peachtree City, is asking drivers to be weather aware as the storm hits during evening commuting hours.

4:01 p.m. | The NWS has now issued a warning in Spalding and Pike counties. This accompanies Meriwether County's tornado warning.

4 p.m. | The NWS has issued a severe thunderstorm warning in Banks, Barrow, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson counties until 4:45 p.m.

3:56 p.m. | In a special severe weather statement the NWS said a confirmed tornado was located near Saint Marks and near Greenville moving east at 55 mph. Meriwether County remains under a tornado warning until 4:15 p.m.

3:55 p.m. | NWS cancels tornado warning for Fulton, DeKalb counties. These counties are now under a severe thunderstorm warning along with Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Henry, Douglas, Cobb, Spalding and Troup counties.

3:54 p.m. | The weather system is now moving over midtown Atlanta and the world's busiest airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a ground stop at Hartsfield Jackson -- expect flight delays on account of the weather.

Watch the storm move over with our tower cameras live below.

3:50 p.m. | Cobb County authorities said there are multiple reports of tree and storm damage from Austell through the Powder Springs area into Smyrna. Authorities are asking people to avoid travel at this time.

3:48 p.m. | 11Alive Chief Meteorologist Chris Holcomb is tracking a potential twister near East Point with rotation confirmed on radar. The radar-confirmed tornado seems to be forming over Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

3:46 p.m. | Fulton and DeKalb counties are under a tornado warning until 4:15 p.m.

3:45 p.m. | The City of Alpharetta has canceled all recreation and park activities due to anticipated severe weather.

The city plans to resume normal activities and schedules Friday.

3:43 p.m. | Hancock and Putnam counties are in under a severe thunderstorm warning through 4 p.m.

3:37 p.m. | Parts of Meriwether County are now under a tornado warning, along with Troup and Heard counties. This warning is expected to expire at 4:15 p.m.

3:34 p.m. | A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Douglas, Cherokee, Clayton until 4:15 p.m. 

3:31 p.m. | More than 1,500 homes experiencing power outages in Floyd County, Georgia Power says. The power authority is also tracking nearly 600 outages in Polk County.

We're following outages in this story.

3:27 p.m. | Fulton County is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 4 p.m. The NWS has also extended the warning for Coweta, Heard, Carroll and Troup counties. 

3:25 p.m. | The NWS said the confirmed tornado is about to cross over into the Georgia state line. It is traveling east at 50 mph, according to the NWS with the storm anticipated to impact Heard County, Georgia shortly.

3:21 p.m. | The NWS confirmed a tornado moving through Randolph County, Alabama toward the Georgia state line.

3:20 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Baldwin, Hancock, Washington, Jones and Puntnam counties until 4 p.m.

3:15 p.m. | Heard and Troup counties are under a tornado warning. NWS has issued the warning until 4 p.m.

3:13 p.m. | Large tornado damages buildings and uproots trees in Alabama on Thursday, the NWS said. 

The powerful storm system is making its way into Georgia. 

3:10 p.m. | Floyd County is reporting travel delays and weather damage outlined here

Due to inclement weather, the school district will delay dismissal at 3:30 pm. All after-school activities will be canceled with the exception of after-school care, the district said.

3:01 p.m. | The NWS is reporting storm damage in Polk County. As several counties are under a thunderstorm warning, the NWS is warning people outdoors should seek shelter immediately.

"If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning," NWS special weather statement reads.

2:58 p.m. | Tornado warning issued for Randolph County in Alabama, which is in 11Alive's viewing area.

2:55 p.m. | The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Baldwin County and Jones County in central Georgia until 3:15 p.m.

2:53 p.m. | Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Jones, Jasper, Bibb, and Monroe Putnam counties until 3:30 p.m.

2:47 p.m. | Haralson, Paulding, Polk, Carroll, Coweta, Douglas and Heard counties are under a severe thunderstorm warning until 3:30 p.m. 

2:45 p.m. | Clarke County School District has canceled all after-school activities for students, teachers, staff and families are canceled with the exception of the district's After School Program. 

Parents are encouraged to pick their student up from after-school care as early as possible to avoid severe weather that is anticipated between 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

2:40 p.m. | 11Alive StormTrackers are pinpointing the severe weather threat Thursday afternoon. Watch their live update below:

2:35 p.m. | Cities near the Georgia-Alabama line are already experiencing power outages with Georgia Power reporting hundreds of homes are without electricity. Summerville, Snow Springs and Cave Spring are a few cities struggling with outages according to the power authority's outage map.

2:30 p.m. | Several northern Georgia school districts have announced adjusted dismissal plans and extracurricular cancellations. Check out our list here.

2:25 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Bartow, Polk, and Paulding counties until 2:45 p.m.

2:07 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Bibb County, Monroe County, Upson County and northern Crawford County.

1:49 p.m. | Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Rome, Cedartown and Rockmart until 2:15 p.m.

1:48 p.m. | Gov. Brian Kemp warns of incoming severe weather, asking Georgians to remain alert throughout the day.

1:47 p.m. | Jackson County Schools will be releasing all students 30 minutes early due to the threat of severe storms. The district has also canceled all after school activities due to incoming severe weather severe weather. All Elementary After School Programs will remain open for those families in need.

1:45 p.m. | DeKalb County Schools has canceled all after school activities and postponed athletic events due to incoming severe weather

1:43 p.m. | A Severe Thunderstorm warning has been issued for Floyd, Haralson, Paulding and Polk counties until 2:15 p.m.

1:21 p.m. | Atlanta Public Schools has canceled all after school activities due to incoming severe weather

1:15 p.m. | All after school activities for Cobb County Schools have been canceled due to incoming severe weather

1:08 p.m. | A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Georgia until 7 p.m.

12:54 p.m. | Cherokee County Schools is canceling all after school activities due to incoming severe weather

12:27 p.m. | Clayton County Schools announces early dismissal on Thursday due to severe weather

  • High Schools - 1 p.m.
  • Elementary Schools - 2 p.m.
  • Middle Schools - 3:30 p.m.

12:23 p.m. | Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for Fannin, Gilmer, Murray and Whitfield Counties until 12:45 p.m.

12:18 p.m. | Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Dalton GA, Chatsworth GA and Eton GA until 12:45 p.m.

12:16 p.m. | Cohutta Police warns of trees and power lines down due to strong winds, along with flooding on the road.

Strong winds with rotation coming through our area currently. Stay tuned to weather stations. Trees and power lines down in our area and road flooding.

Posted by Cohutta Police Department on Thursday, January 12, 2023

11:59 a.m. | Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for Fort Oglethorpe, LaFayette and Fairview until 12:15 p.m.

11:47 a.m. | Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, and Walker Counties until 12:15 p.m.

11:34 a.m. | Gordon County Schools officials said they are monitoring weather conditions this afternoon, January 12th, and will continue to do so throughout the day. 

They released a statement saying:

Due to safety concerns from the severe threat of inclement weather, we stand ready to delay today’s dismissal to allow students to remain in a safe location rather than on the road in a car or school bus. 

Should an official change of schedule (delay, closing, etc.) be warranted, we will notify staff and families via our website, all social media handles, mass notification system and share information with local media outlets.  

As the forecast is calling for extremely heavy rain and windy conditions, we would like to emphasize the need for everyone to remain weather aware and cautious during today’s storms.  

11:31 a.m. | Gilmer County Schools announced they will release students early today according to the following schedule.

  • 12:00 PM - GHS
  • 12:10 PM - Pre-K
  • 12:20 PM - MVES/EES/CCES
  • 12:38 PM - CCMS

11:07 a.m. | Tornado watch issued for parts of northwest Georgia until 5 p.m. Thursday

10:30 a.m. | Cobb County Schools said they will closely monitor the storms to determine if they will impact any procedures. 



  • Download the app on your Apple or Android device.
  • Set up weather notifications by clicking the Gear icon in the upper right corner of the app. Select Notification -> Notification Settings -> Severe Weather Alerts -> Toggle the Severe Weather Alerts button to the right to turn alerts on. 
  • Send photos and videos through the app by selecting the Near Me feature on the bottom right taskbar of the app and entering your information.


JOIN THE 11ALIVE STORMTRACKERS FACEBOOK GROUP: Nearly 10,000 metro Atlanta and north Georgia weather enthusiasts share their weather photos every day. Click here to join the group! 

Download our 11Alive News app for all the latest breaking updates, and sign up for our Speed Feed newsletter to get a rundown of the latest headlines across north Georgia.

Before You Leave, Check This Out