LAGRANGE, Ga. — As the storm roared east from Alabama and into Georgia Thursday, it took aim at LaGrange and Troup County. Dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed.
One neighborhood took a direct hit– just south and east of downtown LaGrange--the Lexington Park / Baldwin Park subdivision. Homes were torn and blown apart, and much of what’s left of them was scattered across the yards and streets.
The storm blasted through LaGrange in seconds. Residents heard the roar and dove for cover.
"Grabbed my wife, threw her down, got on top of her in the closet, felt a little air pressure," LaGrange resident John Reed said.
Reed said less than 30 seconds later the storm was gone; he cracked the closet door a little and there were no walls in his bedroom.
"The roof was completely gone, luckily neither my wife or I were hurt," he said.
At least 21 homes were damaged or destroyed in the Lexington Park and Baldwin Park subdivisions. Ten more homes were damaged along Buck Murphy Road.
Celeste Delaney and her son were not at home when the storm hit. She was shopping at a nearby Walmart and the store told everyone to stay inside until the storm passed; her son was waiting through the storm at school, his school kept all the students until it was safe for them to leave.
"When I finally got around, this is what I came home to," she said, looking at their ravaged home. "I broke down in my car. Still shaking, still trying to get it together."
Delaney said she's counting on the Red Cross to help find her and her son a place to stay for now.
Troup County emergency responders were assessing the impact of the storm. They said so far they have no reports of any injuries or deaths in the county.
"It’s nice to be alive," Reed said. "And we're going to make the best of it."
The neighborhood is sealed off to protect it from looters. On Friday, residents will be able to search for irreplaceable keepsakes and important papers and begin the hard work of recovery.