ATLANTA — It was a tornado outbreak that brought back memories of the active 2017 severe weather season, and, for parts of Georgia, memories of Hurricane Michael.
National Weather Service offices covering Georgia found evidence that 18 tornadoes impacted the state Sunday, March 3, and surveyors may still find more.
The first tornado dropped at 3:15 p.m. and the last one developed at 7:57 p.m. for a total time of 4 hours and 42 minutes.
According to storm reports from the National Weather Service, the first tornado developed in Crawford County northwest of Fort Valley. It flipped and demolished a mobile home, injuring a woman inside. It also flipped a car nearby, then nearly destroyed another nearby home. It was rated EF-2 with maximum wind speeds of 115 mph.
The strongest tornado was the one that killed 23 people in Alabama as an EF-4 tornado, which then tracked into Georgia just before 3:30 p.m. north of Columbus. It eventually lifted just before the Upson-Talbot County line, but not before doing major damage to the city of Talbotton.
Damage from deadly storms in Alabama and Georgia
The National Weather Service even made a special warning for this tornado calling it a "particularly dangerous situation," capable of producing considerable damage as it approached Talbotton.
"AT 341 PM EST, A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER CATAULA, OR 8 MILES SOUTH OF HAMILTON, MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH. THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW! YOU ARE IN A LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION. FLYING DEBRIS MAY BE DEADLY TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT SHELTER. MOBILE HOMES WILL BE DESTROYED. CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO HOMES, BUSINESSES, AND VEHICLES IS LIKELY AND COMPLETE DESTRUCTION IS POSSIBLE."
The tornado weakened to an EF-3 as it moved from Alabama to Georgia with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. It was on the ground for 42 miles in Georgia (according to a finalized report), 68.8 miles in total from its start in eastern Alabama.
The last tornado in Georgia developed just before 8 p.m. near the town of Cairo, just miles from the Florida state line. It too was rated an EF-2 tornado with maximum sustained wind speeds of 120 mph. The tornado first touched down on a plant nursery, downing hundreds of plants and trees. It tracked northeast, eventually tearing the roof off a home and destroying a carport before lifting.
Miraculously, there were no deaths reported in the state of Georgia, but the EF-3 tornado did cause 7 injuries.
Here is a complete list of the Georgia tornadoes from March 3
Of the 18 tornadoes that caused destruction in the state, five of them were considered strong with a rating of EF-2 or greater.
As severe weather season continues for the next few months, let's hope we continue the trend we have started with no tornado deaths in Georgia.