National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather Pounds
North and Central Georgia

March 26-27, 2011

A complex storm system tracked from Texas into the Mississippi River Valley and across Georgia on March 26 and 27 bringing severe weather to north and central Georgia. A warm front lifted northward across the Southeast on Friday, March 25 and stalled across north Georgia on Saturday, March 26. South of this boundary, in the warm sector, supercells developed on March 26 and tracked across central Georgia. With the moderate instability and good shear, conditions were favorable for tornado development, prompting a tornado watch to be issued during the early afternoon.

As the storms across the central part of the state continued to push eastward, a new line of storms pushed into north Georgia from the Tennessee Valley. This line slowly pushed southward across the state and prompted numerous Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and a few Tornado Warnings. This line did not exit central Georgia until late in the afternoon on Sunday, March 27. After a short break, thunderstorms re-developed across Alabama and moved eastward into Georgia in the early evening. A few of these storms produced quarter sized-hail in the early morning hours on Monday, March 28.

Overall during the event, 84 warnings were issued, 13 of which were Tornado Warnings. The majority of the severe events reported were hail and the largest hail size reported was softball sized hail (4.25”) in Senoia (Coweta County) on Saturday, March 26.

[ Golf Ball Sized Hail in Sumter County. ]
Golf Ball Sized Hail in
Sumter County.
[ Large Hail in Moreland. ]
Large Hail in Moreland
(Coweta County).
[ Golf Ball Sized Hail in Senoia. ]
Golf Ball Sized Hail in Senoia
(Coweta County).

In addition to the hail, an EF-1 tornado tracked across Laurens County with maximum winds estimate at 90 MPH and a maximum path width of 500 yards. It touched down around 9:40 PM EST about 1.8 miles west of Brewton and traveled east approximately 3.5 miles before lifting. Hundreds of trees were snapped or downed and about 30 structures were damaged, primarily which were homes that had trees fall on them. A few homes received minor roof and siding damage from the wind itself. One front porch was blown off.

[ Path of EF-1 tornado that struck Brewton in Laurens County. ]
Path of EF-1 tornado that struck Brewton in Laurens County.

[ Debris and Downed Trees for Tornado. ]
Debris and Downed Trees from
EF-1 Tornado near Brewton.
[ Uprooted Tree. ]
Uprooted Tree from EF-1 Tornado near Brewton.
[ Snapped Trees ]
Snapped Trees from EF-1 Tornado near Brewton.

A second tornado occured on March 26, earlier in the day, around 5:40 PM. This was an EF-0 tornado that touched down near the Sumter-Crisp County line over Lake Blackshear. Maximum wind speeds were estimated at 80 MPH. The tornado traveled 3/4 of a mile onto the Crisp County side of the lake. The tornado was 200 yards wide. Two homes received damage from trees downed on them and a few docks also received minor damage.

[ Tornado Over Lake Blackshear. ]
Tornado passed over Lake Blackshear.
(Photo Courtesy of lbturton and WALB)

Damage was also reported in Peach County, but this was due to straight line winds of 75 MPH. This occurred around 8:10 PM EDT. Approximately 40 percent of the roof of the Days Inn Motel on Highway 49 was ripped off. Two cars were damaged from portions of the roof that were blown onto them. In addition, a nearby billboard also received minor damage.

[ Part of the roof off a hotel. ]
Part of the Roof off a Hotel near Byron.
[ Damage to a Billboard. ]
Wind Damage to a Billboard near Byron.
[ Debris from Wind Damage in Byron ]
Debris from Wind Damage near Byron.