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Ellabell woman killed in Tuesday tornado
No injuries, some damage reported in Bulloch
In this image provided by Daniel Defense, a tornado is seen near I-16 in Bryan County on April 5. The National Weather Service estimates that a tornado had winds of 185 mph, making it the strongest twister in the United States so far this year.

Severe weather Tuesday that brought a tornado to the Pembroke and Ellabell areas in Bryan County, caused power outages, downed trees and some damage, but no serious injuries in Bulloch County.

Bulloch Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn said the primary focus of the Bulloch County Fire Department and EMS personnel Tuesday was assisting emergency workers in Bryan County with the aftermath of the storm.

The tornado touched down around 5:40 p.m. near the County Courthouse Complex in Pembroke and moved towards the Park Place and Homestead neighborhoods causing damage in its wake.

Wynn said three Bulloch EMS vehicles transported seven Bryan County residents to East Georgia Regional Medical Center Tuesday evening with injuries suffered during the severe weather.

None of the injuries were life-threatening, Wynn said. One of the victims was a Bryan County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who was hurt in a vehicle accident caused by the storm. Three of the injured were from one family, who were later released and put up in a Bulloch County hotel Tuesday night because their Bryan County home was severely damaged, Wynn said.

Wynn said “a strong downburst of straight-line winds” hit the Bulloch County 911 center about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, and knocked out power to the center adjacent to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office on U.S. 301 North. Wynn said the center switched to its generator and power was restored about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Power was lost due to the storm in multiple areas around Statesboro and Bulloch County. At one point Tuesday, more than 700 Georgia Power customers in Bulloch did not have power, while Excelsior EMC reported about 100 Bulloch customers were without power at some point Tuesday. Both utilities reported no customer outages as of Wednesday morning.

Also, Wynn said there was damage to several buildings, including the Enmark station and the Georgia Department of Transportation office, in the area around the 911 center. He said one minor injury was reported from a falling limb in the Martin Luther King Blvd. area of Statesboro, but the victim did not need to be taken to the hospital.

“We were fortunate in Bulloch to escape the worst of the line of storms Tuesday,” Wynn said. “Still, the severe weather is a good reminder that hurricane season is coming up and we all need a personal disaster plan. Please pay attention to weather alerts. Think about where you’ll go in your home or where you work in the face of a possible weather emergency. Now is the time to put together your disaster kit.”


Bryan County fatality

In Ellabell, a woman was found dead Tuesday night amid the shredded wreckage of her mobile home, said Bryan County Coroner Bill Cox.

“It was just completely ripped to pieces,” Cox said Wednesday. “It’s like it exploded.”

Cox said the woman’s husband was taken to a hospital with injuries. He did not give her name, saying relatives were still being notified.

A motorist’s cellphone video taken in Bryan County showed a large funnel cloud crossing Interstate 16 as drivers braked and pulled to the side of the roadway about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Savannah.

In Pembroke, large sections of roof got torn off the courthouse and the entryway to a government building across was demolished. Several people in nearby neighborhoods were injured as their homes were damaged, said Matthew Kent, a Bryan County government spokesperson.


How to help

Donations for the victims of Tuesday's tornado in the Pembroke/Ellabell area can be directed to Bryan County Family Connection at 40 South Industrial Boulevard, Pembroke.

According to their Facebook page, they have a list of basic needs including toiletries, underwear, socks, diapers, tarps and other basic needs. 

Monetary donations may also be made to Bryan County Family Connections and Ellabell United Methodist Church at 3279 GA-204 in Ellabell.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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