National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Storm Survey Report
for Wilkes, Cherokee, Fayette, Spalding & Upson counties

Damage Related to Remnants of Hurricane Ivan




Wilkes County - Tignall [ location of damage in Wilkes County ]
On September 16, 2004, just after a Tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service at 4:40 pm, Alan Poss - EMA for Washington-Wilkes county receieved a report of funnel clouds southeast of Washington. Further investigation revealed several reports of funnel clouds around the same location and time. No damage was found in the area.

Just after 5 pm, Washington-Wilkes 911 reported a tornado on the ground in Tignall. Upon arrival at the scene, Mr. Poss noted trees were uprooted and down on at least 6 single family dwellings. The damage was noted to dwellings on the west side of Hulin Avenue on Independence Street, as well as dwellings north of Tignall in what is known as the Norman Community. There were a total of 23 structures with damage ranging from minor to major. Highway 17 was blocked in two places in the area by downed trees, additionally three county roads were also blocked. Upon further investigation, the tornado damage followed Chickasaw Creek between Tignall and Norman Community with numerous trees down and damage to farm fences. Approximately 1000 people were without power through the early morning hours of September 17th, with considerable damage reported to phone lines throughout the area. The path of the tornado damage was approximately 7 miles long and ranged from 100 to 500 yards wide.

Examples of Damage in Wilkes County, Georgia ( click images to enlarge )
[ damage to a home by tornado spawned by Ivan ] [ tower knocked down by tornado spawned by Ivan ]
[ Damage to truck caused by tornado spawned by Ivan ] [ another angle of truck damaged by tornado spawned by Ivan ]

Cherokee County - Canton
[ location of damage in Cherokee County ] On September 16, 2004 Cherokee County, Georgia began feeling the effects of Hurricane Ivan as it moved northward from the Gulf of Mexico. During the afternoon of the 16th continuing into the 17th the Office of Emergency Management received dozens of reports county-wide of downed trees, downed power lines and flooding. However one event on the evening of the 16th caused severe damage in a localized area and warranted further investigation. This area of damage was 5.5 miles east of Canton along HWY 20 near its intersection with Jack Page Lane. Several large trees were blown across HWY 20 trapping several people in their cars. Extensive extrication was required by the Fire Department to remove these victims. Several people received minor injuries.

On Sunday, September 19, 2004, a storm assessment group from the Office of Emergency Management conducted an extensive survey of this area and found a damage path. This path began near Gaddis Road, in the Woodmont Golf & Tennis Community and moved northwest for 2.8 miles. The path’s widest point was 750 yards and near the end of the track, it narrowed to just over 400 yards wide. Along the path from Gaddis Road to HWY 20, over 200 trees were blown down, all in a northwesterly direction. Once the winds crossed HWY 20, the damage path centered Jack Page Lane and dozens of fallen trees were then blown towards the center of the damage path. This area of damage near the end of the track appeared to be caused by cyclonic winds rather than straight-line winds, which were observed for most of the track. As to the intensity of the winds, the survey group used damage descriptions to estimate the wind speeds that caused the damage along the track. Based on our observations of the damage, it appears that wind speeds ranged from 73 -112 MPH. Along the damage track, well over 250 trees were blown down and 12 homes or buildings received minor to moderate damage. One home under construction was destroyed.

It is the opinion of the survey group that most of the damage along this track was caused by severe straight-line winds from 73-112 MPH and that near the end of the damage track a brief F-1 Tornado caused the damage along Jack Page Lane.

Fayette & Spaulding Counties
On Thursday September 28, 2004, a storm survey was conducted in both Fayette and Spalding Counties from damage related to Tropical Storm Ivan.

Fayette County - Lake Horton
[ location of damage in Fayette County ]
The first area surveyed was a remote area near Lake Horton in southern Fayette county. Several trees were down on the northern side of the lake on a residential property. Overall damage was confined to spotty tree damage blown with most trees toppled to the northeast. A gazebo was blown off its foundation several inches reported by the property owners. Overall characteristics of the damage that had not been cleared was not supportive of a tornado but rather straight lined winds estimated at 60 mph.

Spaulding County - Griffin
[ location of damage in Spalding County ] The second area surveyed was on Maddox road leading to the corner of Ethridge road just south of the Griffin-Spalding County Airport. Most of the tree debris was cleaned up and was actually lined in piles along Maddox road. Tree damage was fairly extensive with some minor structural damage (shingles) to a few homes along the road. The aspect ratio was most likely 50 yards wide and about 1/5 mile long. The tornado was most likely briefly touching down at this time. The most supportive characteristic were the several trees uprooted inward to the path showing convergence. This damage is most likely associated with a high end F-0 with winds estimated at 70 mph.

Examples of Damage in Spalding County, Georgia ( click images to enlarge )
[ tree damage by tornado spawned by Ivan ] [ Trees knocked down by tornado spawned by Ivan ]

Upson County - 3 Miles north of Yatesville
[ location of damage in Upson County ] Around 3 pm on September 16th, a brief tornado touched down in the extreme northeast corner of Upson county, about 3 miles northeast of Yatesville. One large tree was downed on the road along with a moderate amount of smaller trees. The path of this brief F0 tornado was 100 yards long and 50 yards wide.