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Residents devastated by Spalding County tornadoes concerned for upcoming storms

Survivors of the Georgia tornadoes of two weeks ago worked Tuesday to try to protect damaged properties from even more damage in the storms hitting early Wednesday.

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — The winds and rain in the forecast for Wednesday morning had tornado survivors worried — even scared.

It’s been nearly two weeks since tornadoes roared across north Georgia. Survivors — who have been trying to salvage and save what they could out of their damaged and destroyed homes — had no doubt Tuesday that the storms that were on the way could cause even more damage.

It’s as if they can’t get a break.

Tuesday evening, Ronald Hack showed 11Alive what’s left of his property and what’s left of his neighborhood in Spalding County.

“See here, damage to these mobile homes,” he said as he stepped around tree trunks and over lumber blown off of nearby homes. “A lot of these homes are crushed.”

He and his neighbors were trying Tuesday to protect what was left from what was coming in just a few hours.

“I’m just kind of scared to stay here tonight,” Hack said.

Residents of the mobile home park, just north and east of Griffin, where one of the tornadoes landed like an exploding bomb, were digging deep into their rubble and ruin: still trying to find a cherished bracelet; a birth announcement; a wedding album.  

They hoped they’d have a little more time before heavy rains and high winds struck again.

RELATED: Major disaster declared for 7 Georgia counties following tornadoes

“Not feeling too safe,” Hack said, “with all these trees already uprooted from the tornado and stuff, and more rain and heavy winds coming, kinda want to try and maybe go somewhere else for the night.”

Spalding County emergency response teams said the tornadoes on Jan. 12 damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 homes and businesses in Spalding County and the City of Griffin. Cleanup is expected to take months.

In the past few days, county workers distributed more tarps to residents to try to keep more rain from doing more damage.

Renye Finch, whose home was severely damaged, said the latest weather forecast hit her like a gut punch.

“I’m scared that the trees at the back of my home that have been leaning over my bedroom is going to finally just fall right through my house. With the ground being so wet, the winds getting up tonight, I don’t feel like I’m safe here,” Finch said.

She said she was going to spend the night away at her mother’s house.

Ronald Hack decided he was going to stay at home but didn’t expect to sleep— worried for everyone.

“Pray, yeah. Pray and hope you’ll be safe,” he said, certain that even more storms after storms won’t break them.

Spalding County emergency crews were monitoring the forecasts and expected to be working through the overnight hours and into Wednesday morning to stay on top of any impacts from the winds and rain.

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