Saturday, March 15, 2008

City of Atlanta Storm Updates

A 135-mile-per-hour, F-2 tornado swept through Atlanta with little warning at approximately 9:45 pm last night, cutting a swath of destruction six miles long and 200 yards wide, according to the National Weather Service.

Fire, police, public works, watershed, parks and emergency services personnel across the city continue to provide services, lend assistance and staff the Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Operations Center under the direction of the Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Management Agency. GEMA, MARTA, Georgia Power, FEMA, Atlanta Gas Light, the National Weather Service, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are represented at the EOC and working closely with city departments.

The City Departments of Public Works; Watershed Management; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Fire-Rescue; and Police have been working around the clock to locate and aid the injured, clean debris and maintain calm. DPRCA reports that 14 of 74 trees have been removed from the public right-of-way. DPW has cleared 60 percent of debris on public streets and is working with DPRCA as trees are cut to remove the debris. The City is evaluating damage to the DPRCA facility at Lake Allatoona in Cherokee County.

APD reports the following street closings: Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard closed due to debris. 1020 Bolton Road closed due to downed power lines. Edgewood Avenue and Auburn Avenue are closed due to debris and bricks falling from crumbling buildings. Access to Grady Hospital is available via Gilmer Street, Piedmont Avenue and Courtland Street.

Mayor Shirley Franklin has declared a State of Emergency and has asked Gov. Sonny Perdue for a disaster declaration.

The City has been in close contact with our congressional representatives, particularly the offices of Senator Johnny Isakson and Congressman John Lewis.

The Sheriff’s Departments of Fulton and Rockdale counties; Fire Departments from DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton and Gwinnett counties; Fulton & Cobb Public Works, DeKalb County K-9 units; GEMA; Georgia Power; the Atlanta Housing Authority; MARTA and the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency have provided personnel, equipment and other aid.

Georgia Power reports that power has been restored to 20,000 homes; outages continue to affect 21,000 homes.

The tornado touched down in downtown Atlanta, the Edgewood Boulevard corridor, Oakland Cemetery and the community of Cabbagetown, downing tree and power lines and damaging homes in its path.

Atlanta police and fire personnel have found no fatalities. Approximately 30 people were injured, most not seriously.

Corporate support has been provided by WalMart, Home Depot, Kroger and others.

The Red Cross has staffed two emergency centers and can be reached at 1-866-RC-HELPS (1-866-724-3577).

City officials evacuated the Antoine Graves senior housing residence to the Helene S. Mills Senior Center. The Atlanta Housing Authority is coordinating temporary housing and will continue to assess residents’ needs. After the seniors’ move is complete, the Red Cross will close the center unless further needs arise.

The Salvation Army has deployed three mobile disaster canteens to provide emergency meals, beverages and counseling to affected communities. An additional 22 mobile canteens are on standby to be deployed to ensure that the 21,000 remaining residences without power have access to food and water. For additional information or to donate, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

To donate to relief efforts, visit and click on “Donate.”
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