‘I feel blessed’: Storm hits Burke County homes but leaves lives intact

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:23 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The National Weather Service wants to know how much of the damage across the two-state is from tornados.

It left a path of destruction, with trees on houses, across roads, and knocking out power for homes and businesses.

Highway 25 and Old Waynesboro Road took the brunt of this storm. Emergency crews say they believe a tornado swept through the area.

It’s going to be a long road to rebuild in some places in Burke County.

Walking around with Mary Golden, she’s been here for 47 years, and the aftermath of the storm is something she’s never seen before.

“I said, ‘oh my God.’ That’s all I said,” she said.

Her neighborhood was littered with branches and downed power lines.

“I heard it out here, and I got up, and I saw the trees waving and the limbs flying off the trees,” she said.

Tim Gradous’ house was destroyed.


He said, “The wind started blowing real hard, and the rain was coming down sideways, and right after it started it quit, and I heard a noise, and it picked the tree up and set it on the house.”

The tree fell right next to his bedroom destroying the bathroom and the entire kitchen.

He says everything happened in the blink of an eye.

“It didn’t last long. It was here and gone in just under a couple of minutes at the most,” he said.

Throughout the day, the community is coming together to offer a hand to Gradous and others impacted.

“It’s amazing because you don’t see a lot of that these days, but out here in the country, so to speak, we have to take care of each other because it takes 911 a while to get out here,” he said.

Even though it’s a long road to rebuild, Gradous says he’s just lucky to still be here.

“I feel blessed. I got my wife. I got my dog. The rest of it’s just a thing,” he said. “I got cows, and I have to feed them and take care of them, all while trying to put my life back together at the same time.”

The sheriff’s office says cleanup efforts will continue into the night, and they should be cleaned up by Thursday morning.