Storms leave downed trees, power lines across metro

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ATLANTA - Brief pop-up storms Friday afternoon left a destructive path throughout the area, bringing down power lines and trees across the Atlanta metro.

A 75-80-foot pine tree tore a hole in the roof of a house in Clayton County. The homeowner told Channel 2's Liz Artz she thought it was the boom of thunder.

The summer afternoon thunderstorm proved to be more than the old pine tree could handle.

"It was like the house just shook and I thought it was lightning and thundering," homeowner Priscilla Holden said.

But when she finally stepped outside she realized the boom she heard was a little more than thunder.

"It was like a rumbling noise shook the house," Holden said.

 Holden called the Fire Department and got the OK to stay in the house. It landed over the garage. Luckily the kitchen and bedrooms were untouched.

Holden said she has contacted her insurance company. They estimate the damage to be about$10,000, but it should be covered.

Three miles away and minutes before, Natalie Suarez and Curtis Foye were caught in the same storm on Tara Boulevard near American Legion Way.

"It was really bad. Looked like a tropical storm," Suarez told Artz. "As we were  going, this tree is falling down on us. All we could do (was) hit the branches."

A falling tree hit their car before they could make it home.

"(It was) terrifying. Branches went through the window," Foye said.

"God was on our side. We're lucky to be alive," Suarez said.

In Gainesville, a fast-moving storm knocked a tree and live power lines onto a car, trapping a young couple inside. Residents say the storm hit around 5:30 p.m., bringing heavy rain, strong winds and lightning.

"It was just all of a sudden, wham! It hit," retired Air Force weatherman Phil Loveless said. "All of a sudden it just started thundering, lightning … the wind was blowing probably between 30 to 40 miles per hour in downtown. Within 10 minutes, it was gone and back to sunny outside."

William Hampton told Channel 2's Ashley Swann he and his fiancée were driving along Green Street when all of a sudden, they saw a flash.

"Pretty big bright blue flash and we just felt the tree hit on us and we both were real freaked out and saw the power lines were on the car," Hampton said.

Terrified to move, the couple sat, trapped in their car surrounded by hot wires, until fire and power crews arrived.

"They had to shut off the power and pull the lines back and we crawled out the back," said Hampton. "I think we're pretty lucky."

Crews worked into the night to clear the road and restore power. Gainesville police tell Channel 2 Action News that firefighters put out a small fire that started when the power lines came down. They call it an extremely dangerous situation and say they're relieved no one in the area was hurt.



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