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Straight line winds destroy home, uproot trees
Web Storm lead
Crews clean up a mobile home splintered by straight-line winds early Tuesday morning near Portal. - photo by Courtesy Ted Wynn, Bulloch Public Safety

      Wild winds returned to the county early Tuesday morning, little more than a week after a tornado wrought havoc in the Portal area.
      While strong winds roared across the county around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, causing downed trees and structural damage in several areas, "the Portal area seems to be in the bullseye right now," said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
      Last Saturday, a tornado splintered two mobile homes in the Portal area, twisting trees and yanking them up from their roots. Tuesday morning, the straight line winds that rolled over the county seemed to target almost the same path.
      Scarboro Grove Missionary Baptist Church lost a porch roof and steeple, while just yards down the road, a Pecan Grove Road mobile home was picked up and slammed down onto the roadway, turning the home into a pile of debris.
      No one was home at the time, said Portal Police Chief Jason Sapp, who was on the scene minutes after the storm struck.
      The storm tossed several trees onto roadways in the Portal area as well, with large trees uprooted and blocking U.S. 80 West near Pleasant Hill Road and just west of the Portal city limits.
      Work crews were out in the slight rain shortly after the storm pushed through, clearing trees and debris from roadways.
      While the majority of damage appeared to be in the Portal area, there was widespread damage as well as power outages county-wide.
      Wynn said roads blocked by downed trees included the following: Ga. 67 at the Emit community; U.S. 80 at Pleasant Hill Road; Nevils Daisy Road at Ga. 46; Old Riggs Mill Road; Ga. 24 at Two Chop Road.
      Also, Pretoria Rushing Road at Burkhalter Road; Starling and Jim Futch Roads; Alderman and Rushing roads; Ash Branch Church Road at Ga. 46; Francis Scott Drive, Burkhalter at Langston Chapel Road; Lawrence Church Road at Owens Road; Lem Lanier at Nevils Groveland Road; Maria Sorrell Road; Deerfield Subdivision; Georgian Walk, Jackson Road and Pecan Grove Road.
      There was a tree on a home on Jackson Road, and trees over the roadway at Ga. 24 and Two Chop caused a vehicular accident where victims were transported for minor injury, Wynn said.
      The American Red Cross is helping victims with severe home damage, he said.
      National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Berry said Tuesday's storm damage was caused by straight line winds as opposed to the damage caused by the tornado a week earlier.
      "Straight line winds can be just as damaging as a tornado can be," he said.
      The Bulloch County area should be spared from inclement weather for at least the next several days, with no rain expected and temperatures in the mid 80's, he said.

      Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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