2 dead as huge storm in Southeast flips cars, levels homes

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. — A massive storm system raked the Southeast on Wednesday, spawning tornadoes and dangerous winds that overturned cars on a major Georgia interstate and demolished homes and businesses, killing at least two people.

In northwest Georgia, the storm system tossed vehicles on Interstate 75 onto their roofs.

WSB-TV in Atlanta aired footage showing an enormous funnel cloud bearing down on Adairsville, about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta, as the storm ripped through the city's downtown area. The system flattened homes and wiped out parts of a large manufacturing plant. Pieces of insulation hung from trees and power poles, while the local bank was missing a big chunk of its roof.

One person was killed and nine were hospitalized for minor injuries, state emergency management officials said.

The strange mix of debris in one yard showed just how dangerous the storm had been: a bathtub, a table, rolls of toilet paper and lumber lay in the grass next to what appeared to be a roof. Sheets of metal dangled from a large tree like ornaments.

"The sky was swirling," said Theresa Chitwood, who owns the Adairsville Travel Plaza. She said she went outside to move her car because she thought it was going to hail. Instead, the passing storm decimated a building behind the travel plaza.

"It sounded like a freight train coming through," she said. "It looks like a bomb hit it."

One other death was reported in Tennessee after an uprooted tree fell onto a storage shed where a man had taken shelter.

Since Tuesday, the system had caused damage across a swath from Missouri to Georgia. A system pulling warm weather from the Gulf of Mexico was colliding with a cold front moving in from the west, creating volatility.

2 dead as huge storm in Southeast flips cars, levels homes 01/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:28pm]

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