Gov. Kemp tours damage, declares state of emergency ahead of Wednesday storms

BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia after severe storms ripped through parts of the state on Tuesday and more are expected Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, Kemp toured some of the hardest hit areas from Tuesday’s storms, specifically in Bryan County.

Severe Weather Team 2 is tracking the latest round of storms expected to hit the metro, starting on Channel 2 Action News at 4 p.m.

“The damage we’ve witnessed today is devastating, and all who were impacted will need their fellow Georgians to rally around them in prayer and support in the coming days,” Kemp said in a Tweet. “The state will continue to devote all available resources to the local communities in the impact area as they recover.”

Bryan County officials were urging residents to halt any cleanup work by mid-afternoon Wednesday and take shelter for the night as new storms began forming in west Georgia.

In southeast Georgia, a woman was found dead Tuesday night amid the shredded wreckage of her mobile home in the unincorporated community of Ellabell, said Bryan County Coroner Bill Cox.

“It was just completely ripped to pieces,” Cox said Wednesday. “It’s like it exploded.”

Cox said the dead woman’s husband was taken to a hospital with injuries. He did not give her name, saying relatives were still being notified.

Kemp said it was fortunate the twister did not stay on the ground very long, or the damage and loss of life would likely have been much worse. Places where it did touch down, he said, got hit hard.


“It is literally total devastation for some homes,” Kemp said. “We walked through a house where there’s no wood left on that house. It’s nothing but a foundation with a water heater sitting there.”

Tuesday night, Channel 2′s Justin Carter went to Houston County around the Bonaire area where storms tore through that area.

He spoke with residents who witnessed the destruction first-hand.

“It felt like the house was shaking. I was in the bathroom holding on to the door. I was like oh my god. Lord please stop. Because I could feel it,” Jocelyn Walker said.

Walker said the heavy rains started kicking up and she could hear the trees snapping outside of her home.

“I had got to about four houses down, the first of about 50 trees were blocking the roadway … so I had to climb over all the trees to get here,” Walker said.

National Weather Service forecasters planned to survey damage from several possible tornadoes in Georgia and South Carolina, but said that effort could be interrupted by the potential for more storms Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.