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Columbia Co. cleaning up after damaging winds sweep area

Oakley Prickle Road

The storm caused power lines to go down on Oakley Prickle Road in Evans. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 13, 2011)

News 12 First at Five / Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

EVANS, Ga. -- The storms may not have lasted long, but many in our area are still cleaning up from them 24 hours later. News 12 viewers reported everything from power lines down to trees on houses and cars crushed.

Fortunately, there aren't any injuries from last night's storm, but the winds were rough out there.

Storm Team 12 saw it coming on the radar, but it was still surprising for many to see the weather shift from sunny to stormy in a matter of hours.

Roads were still blocked off in Columbia County Thursday as crews worked to get Lousiville Road powered back up. Residents said the storms came and went in the blink of an eye and some were still without power Friday.

"We went outside and it was all wind. Never any lightning or thunder," said Will Johnson. "And we had curtains fall on the screened-in porch and then a light pole fell in our yard."

Three poles were snapped out of the ground on Louisville Road and Georgia Power had to bring replacement poles in from Macon Friday morning before workers could get started.

Brittney Howell owns property off Old Petersburg Road where there were many trees scattered on yards and houses.

"You could hear [the storm] coming in. It was like it was just hunkering down! And then, all of a sudden, it was just there before you could even try to go outside and move anything," she said. "But it was like it went through just as quickly and it was gone."

Her yard is scattered with big limbs and trees, but fortunately, her home was spared.

"A lot of the other houses got it worse than we did," Howell said. "We were very lucky."

To put these winds in perspective, Category 1 hurricanes form at 74 miles per hour. Thursday's winds ripped through around 50 and 60 miles per hour.

"I would have never thought something that bad could happen from something that small," Johnson said. "But, evidently, it was real big."

Howell says some of her neighbors are seeking shelter at the Salvation Army until their homes are repaired. Crews say the cleanup could continue through the weekend.

Storm reports in the area ranged from Edgefield to McCormick and Warren counties. In Virginia, tornadoes were reported.

Despite the severity of the storms, News 12 Meteorologist Vicki Graf said no tornadoes formed.

"Straight line winds or strong winds can be just as dangerous -- and leave just as much damage," she said.

Graf says it's likely what happened in the area Thursday evening.

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