Pembroke, Ga. ( Associated Press) – The National Weather Service estimated that a tornado in Bryan County, Georgia, had winds of 185 mph (300 kph), making it the strongest twister ever in the United States this year.
The storm killed Belinda Thompson, 66, of Elabel and injured 12 others, including Thompson’s husband.
A National Weather Service damage survey released Friday upgraded tornado strength to EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale from the original rating of EF-3.
A tornado that struck Winterset Iowa on March 5 with winds of up to 170 mph (275 kph), killing 6 people, was the strongest tornado ever.
The Georgia storm had a path of about 13 miles and was about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 kilometers) wide at its widest point. It dropped near Pembroke at around 5:15 PM and picked up near Blichton about 15 minutes later
Surveyors found that there was “massive” tree damage and that some homes and structures were destroyed. In the county seat of Pembroke, large sections of the roof were torn down from the courthouse and the entrance to a government building was demolished. According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the storm destroyed at least 18 homes in the county and left more than 10 others with major damage. Motorists dodge a twister as they cross Interstate 16.
At least 82 tornadoes have been confirmed from Texas to South Carolina from April 4 to April 6. About 30 of them hit central and south Georgia, including an EF-3 hurricane that destroyed two power transmission towers and damaged several homes in Bonaire. Two EF-3 hurricanes also affected Ellendale County, South Carolina.