National Weather Service investigators met with Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn early Thursday afternoon to determine whether the storm that ravaged an area just southeast of Stilson early that morning was in fact a tornado.
The possible twister damaged several homes in the Lillie Hagan Road and Old River Road South area, sending seven to the hospital, Wynn said.
One person was airlifted to a Savannah hospital while six others were sent to East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, but later Thursday morning, two of those six were transferred to a Savannah hospital for further treatments, he said.
Conditions and identities of the victims were not immediately available.
While no official determination has been made, Wynn said “I am pretty sure it was a tornado. It lifted up a storage container (a heavy steel shipping container), moved it and turned it upside down.”
Bulloch County Public Safety, Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies and Bulloch County firefighters were among several who responded to the south Bulloch County community where the apparent tornado touched down.
All of Bulloch County was briefly under a tornado warning while the fast-moving weather system brought thunderstorms into the county around 3:30 a.m.
There were reports of hail and high winds in the Brooklet area, but the major wind damage was in the Stilson area and east, near the Effingham County line.
Several people were trapped in the debris – five in one location and two in another, Wynn said.
“We have had work crews in the area since about 3:30 a.m. this morning,” said Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown. “There is substantial damage and trees down along this area.” He asked everyone to avoid the area unless necessary, to reduce traffic and so as not to hinder cleanup.
Look for more details as they become available on statesboroherald.com and read the complete story in Friday's Statesboro Herald.