Tornado confirmed by Weather Service
by Alex McRae
The National Weather Service confirmed Monday morning that a tornado was responsible for damage to the property of Murphy Johnson on Sunday afternoon. Johnson lives at 75 Windom Dr. in Moreland.
"It was definitely a tornado," said Steve Nelson of the National Weather Service's Peachtree City Office. "We could see debris on the radar as high as twenty five hundred to maybe three thousand feet."
Nelson was in Moreland Monday morning to view the damage to Johnson's property and other areas nearby. Nelson said viewing the storm damage in person helped Weather Service officials get a better idea of the storm's track, origin and duration.
Johnson, whose camper and large workshop with rollup doors were destroyed by the storm, said "it only lasted about thirty seconds, but was long enough."
Coweta County Emergency Management Director Jay Jones inspected the scene shortly after the storm struck. He met National Weather Service officials there Monday morning and said that to his knowledge, no major damage was suffered elsewhere in the county during Sunday's storm.
"It just kind of came up out of nowhere and it was gone," Jones said. A county-wide system of emergency storm sirens will soon be in operation and will do a much better job of warning residents when dangerous storms approach, according to Jones. The new system will be connected to the National Weather Service office and as soon as a tornado warning area has been identified on NWS radar, all the sirens within the warning area will be automatically triggered.
"Whenever storms are in the area people need to listen to their weather radios and be alert," Jones said. "We're getting more storms and tornados in this Moreland area in the past few years and we want to make sure everyone stays safe."
Monday Morning, Murphy Johnson and his wife Jean watched as neighbors came by to help clear debris and offer other aid and assistance.
"You look at this and you realize how lucky we were," Johnson said. On Monday morning Johnson inspected the property and found parts of his shop as well as furniture, appliances and even the water tank from the family's 11,000-pound camper tossed around like toys. Many items were over a hundred yards away and other items had sailed so far they still haven't been spotted.
"I guess there's no telling how long we'll be picking up stuff," Johnson said. He mentioned that several rolls of coins were lost in the storm and he had picked up lots of loose change while walking the property Monday.
"My seven-year old grandson is gonna have fun looking for that money," Johnson said.
Long time friend and neighbor Lee Hand dropped by, observed the wreckage and visited with Johnson for a while. The men talked about the old barn on Johnson's property that was untouched by the storm. As he left, Hand shook Johnson 's Hand and offered "any kind of help you need."