National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Survey of Central Georgia Storm Damage
April 17 and 19, 1998
report filed 4/29/98

by Gary Davey


Ground truth investigation of a severe weather event which occurred on the night of Friday, April 17, 1998 indicates a Severe Thunderstorm formed over Sumter County around 10 pm EDT and moved east-northeast across Dooly, Houston, Pulaski, Bleckley and Laurens counties of Central Georgia. The storm complex produced extremely strong wind, probably a combination of downburst and straight-line wind, which did considerable tree and property damage. Funnel clouds and tornadoes were reported in this event but the storm survey found no evidence of a tornado.


  • Sumter County Georgia 1000 pm EDT Friday 04/17/98
    Wind damage information from Mr. Philip Daniel of EMA office.
  • Dooly County Georgia 1030 pm EDT (Time estimated) Friday 04/17/98
    Information from Dooly County EMA Director Kenny Calhoun.
  • Southern Houston County 1115 pm EDT Friday 04/17/98
    Wind damage information and site tour provided by Houston County EMA Director Jimmy Williams.
  • Pulaski County Georgia 1115 pm EDT Friday 04/17/98
    Information and Site tour by Mr. Leslie Sewell, Pulaski County EMA Director.
  • Bleckley County Georgia 1120 pm Friday 04/17/98
    Cary, Georgia...Information from site survey and local residents.
    Cochran, Georgia...Information from site survey and county maintenance supervisor, Mr. Roy Floyd.
  • Laurens County Georgia 1130 pm til midnight Friday 04/17/98
    Information and site tour from Mr. Don Bryant, EMA Director.

    Sumter County
    One large tree down across power lines with several poles pulled over as the lines and tree fell. This location was eleven miles east-southeast of Americus, Georgia on Highway 195 between Highway 27 and Lamar Rd.

    Two separate locations experienced flooding. One home in the city of Plains, Georgia and another one in the county on Highway 49 North. A bridge across Highway 49 was washed out by flood water as well. No times available but flooding occurred after the storms passed. No injuries reported.   [BACK TO TOP]



    Southern Houston County
    About twenty large mature Oak, Cedar and Pine trees were blown down, three homes damaged and one mobile home destroyed by very strong downburst wind which occurred along County Line Road in South Houston County. This location is 12 miles south-southeast of Perry, Georgia. The damage track continued into Pulaski County. A very old grave yard was badly damaged with headstone markers broken. The uprooting of huge oak trees possibly exposed several graves. Protective fencing around the small grave site was destroyed by blown down trees.

    The storm track along with sound descriptions provided by residents indicate the possibility of a funnel cloud associated with this storm. There was no evidence of a tornado. There were no injuries reported.    [BACK TO TOP]

    Pulaski County
    Damage to numerous large trees continued along County Line Road out of Houston County into Pulaski County continuing east to Highway 26 then along Highway 26 into an area ending about one mile west of Hawkinsville, Georgia. Two separate areas indicated strong wind. At one site, about six miles west of Hawkinsville, 58 mature Pecan trees were blown over in a large orchard. Hail was reported but size not determined. About four inches of rain fell during this storm event at this location. At a second site along Highway 341, about two miles northwest of Hawkinsville, the tree count wasn't complete but 75 to 100 Pecan trees were blown down. This orchard had a mixture of large and newly transplanted trees in it. Very large oak and pine trees were also blown down near the residence. At another nearby site an unoccupied mobile home was lifted off its blocks, flipped and returned to its wheels about thirty or forty feet away from where it was originally parked. It was intact but destroyed by this aerial maneuver.

    No injuries reported.    [BACK TO TOP]

    Bleckley County
    Cary, Georgia... Information from site survey and local residents indicate the report of a tornado on the ground at Cary, Georgia to be false. No damage was visible or reported in the area.

    Cochran, Georgia... No conformation of tornado one mile east of Cochran. Mr. Floyd reported he and his crew removed from five to seven trees off county and city roadways during the night and next day. Two of the larger trees were rotten inside. Most circumstances were that the ground was wet and the trees heavy with rain and the wind blew them over. He felt it didn't take much wind to do it.    [BACK TO TOP]

    Laurens County
    About 30 trees were blown down county wide during the storm. Two locations had significant tree damage, and one of the two locations had home damage and a garage destroyed. Location of the most significant damage was two or three miles northwest of Dexter, Georgia. One of the EMA/Fire Department employees had tree damage on his property which suggested a funnel cloud associated with the storm. The trees were all close together but were blown down at ninety degree angles one to another in a 270 degree circular pattern.

    The EMA director and two deputy sheriff officers reported seeing funnel clouds, displayed by nearly continuous lightning, at different times and locations with this storm complex. No evidence of a tornado was found.

    Dooly County
    One unoccupied mobile home moved off foundations in Lily, Georgia which is six miles northwest of Vienna, Georgia. A barn/out building was destroyed about fifteen miles north-northeast of Vienna along Highway 230. Six to eight large trees were blown down and across Highway 230 from Byromville to Vienna. No injuries reported.    
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    REPORT on APRIL 19, 1998 STORM

    A ground survey of storm damage over Peach, Houston and Bibb counties on Sunday afternoon April 19, 1998 indicates a severe thunderstorm developed over Peach County at about 1 pm EDT. The severe thunderstorm moved northeast over Byron, Georgia producing a funnel cloud and considerable wind damage to homes and trees in Majestic Oak sub division. The storm moved northeast over North Peach Recreation Park, located near the junction of White Road and I-75, where a funnel cloud was observed by spectators. The storm continued northeast across the northern tip of Houston County where only minor wind damage was reported at a mobile home park. The storm moved into southern Bibb County near the Macon Airport and produced wind damage to several homes and trees along Griffin Road. A resident of the Griffin Road area observed a funnel cloud as the storm moved past his home. The storm damage track ended over southern Bibb County.



    Peach County (Byron) Georgia. Information and site tour provided by Mr. Jeff Doles, Director Peach County EMA.

    At about 110 pm EDT Sunday April 19, 1998 significant Home and tree damage occurred to property in the Majestic Oak sub division in Byron, Georgia in Northern Peach County. A garage under construction was destroyed and part of the roof was blown off a home located at 204 Majestic Oak Circle. Fencing, swing and out door furniture was damaged at property adjacent to this location. A piece of two by four lumber from this home was blown into and sticking out of a dormer on a house across the street. At 201 Majestic Oak Circle (across the street from the blown off roof) several large pine trees were blown over and onto a house. The significant thing here was that two of the trees, separated by about 100 feet, were blow over at an angle of about 150 degrees one to the other. Other wind damage and blown over tree reports were received from this sub division.

    In Byron, just a short distance away from the above sub division, at North Peach Recreation Park, located 461 West White Road, near I-75, spectators reported seeing a funnel cloud. E-911 operators received five different calls from this area concerning this funnel cloud sighting.    [BACK]

    Houston County Georgia. Site tour and information received from Houston County EMA director Jimmy Williams.

    At about 115 pm minor wind damage, not significant enough to classify as severe thunderstorm activity, was reported at a mobile home park located at 1432 Dunbar Road in Houston County (13 miles north of Perry in Houston County). There were reports of a possible tornado at this location but ground truth could not confirm this. Most of the reports seemed to have been generated by the extreme wind sounds and shaking of the mobile home units as the storm passed over.    [BACK]

    Bibb County Georgia. Site survey 11 miles south of Macon near the Lewis B. Wilson (MCN) airport on Griffin Road.

    At about 120 pm EDT Mr. Otis Edge observed a funnel cloud moving past his property at 1581 Griffin Road. This may have been initially reported as a tornado. In this general area numerous trees had the tops broken out and two homes experienced roof damage either from wind or falling tree tops. Other damage of a similar nature occurred in this area and was reported to Macon/Bibb County EMA.    [BACK]