NWS Confirms Tornado Damaged Fire Station
The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed that a tornado caused heavy damage to Vidalia Fire Department’s Station 1 on Aimwell Road on January 2. The tornado was part of a severe weather system that swept through Southeast Georgia causing high winds and dumping rain across the area. The EF0 tornado that touched down for about a minute in Vidalia was about 100 yards wide and traveled less than half a mile. The NWS estimated that the storm packed winds of up to 75 miles per hour. An EFO storm, with winds between 65 and 85 miles per hour, is the weakest tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
In addition to the fire station, damage was done to the roofs of two houses nearby. A firefighter inside the station at the time of the storm escaped injury, but the station will be out of commission until repairs are made. Vidalia Fire Chief Brian Sikes said, “The storm definitely hit the station hard. The west facing doors were blown off their tracks and the glass was shattered out of them. The front eastfacing door had similar damage. Glass covered the floor of the station, and the ceiling near the front of the building was destroyed.”
He added, “The roof above one bedroom was blown off, which caused the bedroom to be flooded by several inches of rain. Even the fire truck was moved approximately five feet from its original spot by the force of the storm.” Altamaha EMC reported a massive power outage across Toombs and Montgomery counties during the storm with over 5,000 customers experiencing power outages.