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Severe Thunderstorm Causes Havoc in Fannin County, Georgia
July 14, 2004

by Brian Lynn and Barry Gooden
Introduction [ county map highlighting location of Fannin County ]
The National Weather Service conducted a storm damage survey on July 15th, 2004 across Fannin County. The purpose was to examine damage resulting from a July 14th, 2004 storm that caused damage over a fairly wide area, and to determine if the damage was the result of a tornado, or from straight-line winds.

Summary / Conclusions
On Wednesday afternoon of July 14, shortly before 400 PM, a supercell thunderstorm crossed into Fannin County from Tennessee. The storm moved from just west of McCaysville to Epworth, and passed right over the city of Blue Ridge as it moved south-southeast across the county. The majority of the damage occurred over this area.

In the opinion of the survey team the damage was the result of straight-line winds rather than a tornado. Numerous trees were uprooted and lying in a southeast to southwest direction. Some of the trees were very large hardwoods. Power was lost over a large area for much of the evening as some of the trees fell on power lines.

[ damage path across Fannin County ] Hail up to 2.5 inches in diameter was observed in downtown Blue Ridge at the fire station around 415 pm, with numerous other hail sightings the size of quarters or larger. There was one description of hail that appeared to be like two golf balls had been glued together.

A house flooded in Blue Ridge as very heavy rain fell. Water rose as high as the the electrical outlets on the first floor. A small pickup truck got caught in the flood waters with water reaching up to the roof.

Three people were injured by lightning while tubing at the Toccoa Valley Campground.

Examples of Damage in Fannin County, Georgia ( click images to enlarge )
[ trees down in yard ] [ lots of firewood ]
[ tree snapped ] [ tree uprooted ]

Some maps courtesy Georgia Department of Community Affairs