Newnan tornado was 1 mile wide, had 170 mph maximum wind speed

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — We’re beginning to learn new details about an intense tornado that devastated parts of Coweta, Heard and Fayette counties last week.

The National Weather Service released its preliminary report overnight, which showed that it was the strongest-rated tornado since the Ringgold tornado of 2011.

Severe Weather Team 2 tracked the severe weather outbreak for hours on Channel 2 Action News beginning on Thursday afternoon through Friday morning when the tornado ravaged parts of Georgia.

At its widest, the tornado was more than a mile wide as it moved through downtown Newnan. Its maximum wind speed was 170 mph, which is an EF-4 tornado.

NewsChopper 2 used exclusive satellite technology that can give before and after images over Newnan. The images show what the area looks like now surrounded by what it looked like before the storm. Blue tarps can be seen across the area.


The tornado was on the ground for at least 38.9 miles. Officials said it is possible this will be linked with the tornado storm survey ongoing in eastern Alabama for a path length of 75 miles.

Unfortunately, one man died and part of the area was heavily damaged by the tornado.

Barry Martin, 56, died of a heart attack on Friday when he was walking to his daughter’s home to check on her.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a state of emergency early Friday morning for several counties across Georgia to bring help to areas hardest hit.

“(It was) a really, really tough afternoon, late afternoon yesterday and into the morning,” Kemp told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot. “Some tragic storms, flooding, a lot of different things involved in many counties across the state. I signed a state of emergency at 2 a.m. last night. We had teams leaving at 3 a.m. going to Newnan, Georgia and other parts to help with some of the damage.”

At Newnan High School, every building on the campus now has extensive damage.

NEWNAN TORNADO: The preliminary survey report is in from the National Weather Service and the numbers are incredible --...

Posted by Brian Monahan, WSB on Monday, March 29, 2021