Atlanta

Nearly 50 years ago this month a tornado outbreak devastated parts of GA, a dozen other states

ATLANTA — It was 49 years ago this month that Georgia was impacted by the worst tornado outbreak in US history. In 1974, a super outbreak produced nearly 150 tornadoes in Georgia and a dozen other states.

In total, 335 people were killed and more than 6,000 injured after 148 tornadoes touched down in 13 states, including two EF4 tornadoes in Georgia.

“Well, it just looked like that was the end for everybody around here because there just wasn’t anything left. It didn’t look like anybody could have survived,” a survivor told Channel 2′s reporter and photographer on scene at the time.

“Where do you go from here?” the reporter asked the survivor.

“I don’t know, I really don’t.  We had insurance though we were luckier than most people because we got all our clothes,” the survivor said.

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The storms first impacted West Georgia near Yorkville. In Douglasville, students had to be rushed into the hallways of Weston Elementary School.

“It’s just not safe and I don’t like it,” one student told us at the time.

Another man watched as the storms ripped apart his chicken shed.

“It was awful. I mean, it’s just something I’ve never faced,” the man said.

Channel 2 Action News was alongside then-Gov. Jimmy Carter as he toured the hardest hit areas.

“We will provide in the next few days, mobile homes, loaned, rented apartments, or homes for them to live in for the several months it might take them to purchase another home or to build one or to buy a mobile home of their own,” Carter told our cameras at the time.

According to the National Weather Service, the damage path covered 2,500 miles. The 16-hour tornado outbreak caused an estimated $600 million in damage.

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