Sheriff’s house damaged under dozens of tornadoes in Houston County; no injuries reported

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) — A tornado likely caused a line of destruction at Stratham’s Landing near Warner Robins on Tuesday.

Amid the roar of chainsaws and heavy equipment, Larry Smith sat in silence on Wednesday as crews removed four trees from his home, which he has shared with him for 28 years. The couple were at home Tuesday afternoon when a storm raged through their quiet neighborhood, which is minutes from Robins Air Force Base.

“I’ve seen hurricanes and two typhoons, nothing like that,” Smith said. “The house shook. You hear glass breaking and trees smashing against the house and then suddenly it’s over.”

Christopher Stoner, director of emergency management for Houston County, told CBS46 the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado had been touched. However, he said officials were still assessing the strength of the storm. While no one was injured, at least 25 homes were damaged, mostly on Fairways Rd.

“We watched the rotation come across the county, just a wide rotation, and when it hit that Bonair community there, it intensified and we noticed the debris signature on the radar, which gave us our first lead, and we started to channel resources in that direction,” Stoner said.

Neighbors spent Wednesday clearing debris, cutting down fallen trees, covering open roofs with tarps and boarding broken windows. Surrounded by the debris was a blue and green 1967 Chevy pickup parked on the street. It belonged to Smith.

“It’s been in the family since day one,” Smith said.

Smith spent years fixing it after his brother-in-law died in 2017. The antique vehicle was spared the storm, suffering only a few bumper dents and scratches.

“It’s an act of God,” Smith said. “That’s all you can say.”

While the 81-year-old car enthusiast was glad the truck wasn’t badly damaged, he said he was more grateful no one was injured or killed in the storm.

Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton’s home was also damaged by a large tree. His home and several others remain closed to traffic due to high-tension power lines on Old Hawkinsville Road.

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