TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — Tuesday marked another day of cleanup for Troup County residents after Sunday’s EF-3 tornado wreaked havoc, leaving behind a view of destruction and debris.
Emergency management officials are also working to restore power to customers. Damage to a cell phone tower is making recovery efforts difficult.
Troup County has been hit with multiple tornadoes in the last few months. Louie Kight said he hid under his patio table when the storm moved through Sunday.
“I was on the back porch,” Kight said when he heard what sounded like a train coming toward his home. He knew he should take cover.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” he said.
When he emerged, he saw destruction all around him. Pieces of his mangled green roof were hanging from a utility pole and wrapped around fallen trees.
“They weren’t allowing anyone in so we couldn’t get to him," said his daughter, Misty Summerville.
She lives four miles away, but it took two days to get to him because streets were closed and cell phone service was cut off.
“Cell towers damaged so couldn’t even call him,” she said.
That same cell tower that toppled along I-85 and Kia Boulevard is still impacting cell service Tuesday.
“We get so used to using our cell phones and when it goes down it’s hard to operate in the field so it’s been a disaster on top of a disaster trying to get all that infrastructure back,” said Sgt. Stuart Smith with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said contractors are actively working around the clock to restore service.
“We’ve been hit with four tornadoes in a very short period of time and just when we thought we were getting ahead of the game we’re hit again,” Smith said.
Some streets are now open and some power has been restored, but officials said it will take a lot longer to recover.
“It will take several weeks, I would say a month, before we can have a real true picture and the recovery will take months,” said Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King.
King said it's important to give enough time for the damage assessments to be completed.
“The biggest thing is making sure people don’t start reconstruction right away. Just do enough repairs to make sure that no further damage occurs," he said.
County officials are working with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to assess the damage.
As for Kight, his daughter set up an online fundraiser to help raise money for the repairs; he didn't have insurance.