NEWNAN, Ga. — Coweta County woke up to widespread damage, downed trees and heavily damaged or destroyed houses after a tornado tore through the area early Friday morning.
Officials with the National Weather Service said the violent, long-track tornado was an EF-4 storm that hit the city of Newnan.
Officials said at least one person who had a medical emergency died during the storms as emergency crews were trying to get to him. Other people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Coweta County Schools were closed Friday as were non-essential county offices.
Newnan High School suffered significant damage in the storm. Photos show large pieces of twisted metal and destroyed walls.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas talked to students who stopped by and were stunned at the damage.
“Everything is completely gone. The roofs on every building are gone. the walls of our classrooms are gone,” they said.
Gov. Brian Kemp says he will visit Coweta County tomorrow to survey the damage
“Tomorrow, I’ll visit Coweta County to survey the damage from last night’s storms and offer state aid to the local community,” Kemp said. “We continue to pray for the families who are facing tragic loss of life in Georgia and neighboring states.”
Sheriff Lenn Wood asked people to stay off the roads as crews work to clear debris and restore power.
“We appreciate the community wanting to help, but for now, we are asking everyone to stay out the hard hit areas so the road and line crews can do their jobs,” Wood said.
A tweet on the school account said school would be closed Friday for the entire county. The sheriff’s office asked people with chainsaws to meet at the school to help clear trees. Neighboring Heard County schools are closed as well because of storm damage.
We have crews fanned out across the metro in the areas hardest hit by the storms. Stay with WSBTV.com and tune into Channel 2 Action News throughout the day for updates.
Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns and Meteorologist Brad Nitz tracked the storm LIVE as the line of dangerous storms moved in from Alabama and into the Atlanta metro.
In a tweet, the city of Newnan said, “The city experienced heavy damage in and around the historic downtown area due to tonight’s weather.”
Viewers sent in photos to Channel 2 Action News showing trees down across the city, siding and roofs partially ripped off of homes and trees through buildings.
Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon arrived in Newnan around 1:30 a.m. and found damage to the areas near the city square and there was clearly no power in the area.
Channel 2′s Darryn Moore reported extensive trees down along and off LaGrange Street. He spoke to a woman who said the storm tore a tree right from the ground and on to an apartment. Moore said the roads are impassable because of tree limbs, mud and downed power lines. There are also reports that people were trapped by debris.
Newnan Utilities posted video on their Facebook page of crews working quickly to remove trees and restore power.
Meanwhile Newnan Police made a desperate plea to keep cars off the roads. The sheriff’s office put out a similar warning to people out in the middle night driving around to check out the damage.
Cox Media Group