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

alarm system.

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.

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