Ringgold rebuilds: Georgia town marks 10 years since devastating tornado

RINGGOLD, Ga. — Ten years ago today, the town of Ringgold was nearly wiped off the map. But it has rebuilt itself while remembering the tragic loss of so many lives.

It was a severe storm outbreak that spawned an EF-4 tornado that ripped through the town in northwest Georgia. At least 13 people were killed.

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The monster storm blew apart Ringgold High’s Arts Center and severely damaged the neighboring middle school. Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

“The outbreak actually stretched over four days -- April 25 through the 28th -- but the biggest day was April 27. By the end of the day, there had been more than 200 tornadoes across the southeast, including four EF-5 tornadoes and an EF-4 tornado in Ringgold in Northwest Georgia,” Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said.

At Fire Station No. 1, Firefighter Clarence Muse told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time that the tornado didn’t sound like a freight train, how many people describe hearing tornadoes.

“It was hissing,” he said. “This thing had a life of its own.”

Deaths were also reported in other counties in Georgia that day and into the next. There were also numerous injuries.

Other killer storms in recent years:

  • March 27, 1994: 18 were killed on Palm Sunday in the Floyd County area.
  • March 20, 1998: 14 were killed in Hall and White counties.
  • April 8, 1998: Seven were killed in and around Dunwoody city in DeKalb, and in Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
  • Feb. 14, 2000: 19 were killed in Southwest Georgia/Mitchell County, Grady County, Colquitt County.
  • March 20, 2003: Six were killed in southwestern Georgia.
  • March 1, 2007: Six were killed in Newton.
  • March 14, 2008: One was killed in Atlanta.
  • April 27, 2011: Ringgold and Cedartown reported 15 deaths.
  • January 2013: One was killed in Adairsville.

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