MOULTRIE -- Tornados were spotted on either side of the county in Tift
and Thomas counties Monday afternoon, but not in Colquitt County. Still,
high winds left their mark.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration storm chaser Rick
Lipscomb of Doerun was at the intersection of Tallokas Road and Hwy. 319
South at about 1:30 p.m. when a gust front plucked two traffic lights
from support cables and flung them northeast into a corner field.
Lipscomb, on his way to track down a potential twister forming in
Ochlocknee, said the gusts were a "little unnerving."
County Commissioner Billy Mock was at the intersection at that time also.
"It was rocking my car and when I got about 200 feet from the
intersection," he said, indicating the winds were so strong the lights
were blowing horizontal to the ground before the cables snapped. "Then
all off a sudden one went and then the other one."
Tallokas Road at Riverwood Subdivision temporarily was blocked by two
trees, one tall enough to block both lanes, Mock said. For the most
part, the storm left behind downed limbs, scattered debris and swollen
ditches across the county, emergency officials said.
The City of Moultrie experienced midafternoon power surges that extended
to the sheriff's office, the jail and the justice center, where court
was in session. Emergency lights kicked on, and business resumed as
usual, staff said.
Within the same time frame but unrelated to the storm, the first floor of
the courthouse annex became smoky when a ballast on an emergency light
in the ceiling shorted, county officials said, setting off the fire
After tracking down the source of the smoke, the city fire department,
county officials and the contractor of the new building checked out the
building and determined there was no further threat. Other than an
unpleasant electrical burn smell and some sooty footprints, there was no
impact on the building, officials said.
To contact reporter Lori Glenn, call 985-4545, ext. 224.