National Weather Service reports on nearby tornado activity last week

Funnel cloud over field. Shutterstock image.
Funnel cloud over field. Shutterstock image.

Meriwether/Northwest Pike/Southwest Spalding Tornado:

Rating: EF2

Estimated Peak Wind: 120 mph

Path Length /statute/: 27.6 miles

Path Width /maximum/: 1500 yards

Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Start Date: 01/12/2023

Start Time: 03:45 PM EST

Start Location: 2 ENE Mountville / Meriwether County / GA Start Lat/Lon: 33.0517 / -84.8527

End Date: 01/12/2023

End Time: 04:17 PM EST

End Location: 3 SW Zetella / Spalding County / GA End Lat/Lon: 33.2147 / -84.4300

Survey Summary:

As the Troup County tornado lifted southeast of LaGrange just west of the Troup-Meriwether County line, another long-track and powerful tornado formed just east of the county line near Keith Rd 0.9 miles north of GA109.

The tornado initially traveled north then turned to a east-northeast direction crossing Wilbur Keith Rd and Piney Woods Rd downing hundreds of trees. The tornado broadened and intensified as it approached GA100 with a diameter of 0.9 miles and winds over 100 mph uprooting and snapping over 1000 trees.

A home on Forrest Rd had its entire roof blown off where max winds were estimated at 120 mph and first reached EF- 2 intensity.

The tornado continued at 100 to 120 mph intensity as it continued east-northeast into neighborhoods south of Allie Rd along Mount Pilgram Rd where several homes were damaged or destroyed by trees falling on them. One double-wide manufactured home on Ground Hog Dr had its roof blown off and was shifted 20 yards off its foundation, breaking the home in half.

The tornado continued east-northeast along Allie Rd crossing US27. Just east of US27 a very large stand of trees were snapped and a large recently-constructed two-story barn was destroyed.

Just east of this location, two single-wide mobile home completely destroyed. The residents of one of the homes was at the hospital when the tornado struck and returned home early next morning to find it in shambles. Here, maximum winds were also rated at EF- 2 intensity (120 mph).

The tornado began to weaken east of this point and it tracked a bit more northeast in direction, crossing Rocky Mountain Rd and Malcom Rd before it traveled along Callaway Rd downing several hundred more trees as it moved near the Alps community.

While the tornado remained weak east of this area, the overall storm remained extremely strong and the tornado did not dissipate, continuing east-northeast cross GA362 and paralleling the Flint River as it crossed into the far SW tip of Spalding County, crossing Hollonville Rd, and briefly crossing into the Pike County side of the Flint River.

Here winds were only 75- 80 mph downing several trees as far as could be seen from public roadways. The tornado lifted somewhere east of Blanton Mill Rd about 0.3 miles north of the Pike-Spalding County line.

Southwest Spalding County Tornado:

Rating: EF1

Estimated Peak Wind: 90 mph

Path Length /statute/: 3.69 miles

Path Width /maximum/: 200 yards

Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Start Date: 01/12/2023

Start Time: 04:19 PM EST

Start Location: 3 SSW Zetella / Spalding County / GA Start Lat/Lon: 33.2089 / -84.4154

End Date: 01/12/2023

End Time: 04:22 PM EST

End Location: 1 E Zetella / Spalding County / GA End Lat/Lon: 33.2346 / -84.3602

Survey Summary:

Per both radar data, areal surveys and ground surveys it has been determined that there were 3 tornadoes on the ground simultaneously in southwest Spalding and Northwestern Pike Counties.

The tornadoes were part of a larger mesocyclone which can be traced west all the way back to the Selma Alabama tornado. This particular tornado briefly spun up near the Pike and Spalding county line just west of Scott Branch Road per both radar confirmed Tornado Debris Signature (TDS) and ground truth with snapped or uprooted trees in that area.

This tornado continued East North east crossing Yarborough Mill Road snapping and uprooting trees before crossing near the intersection of Blanton- Mill Rd and Rover-Zetella Road where trees were snapped and uprooted.

As the tornado tracked east it became absorbed into the circulation that was simultaneously tracking NE out of northern Pike County just to the west of the Kendall Drive area.

It was as this tornado and the other circulation came together the overall intensity peaked over and to the Northeast of the Kendall Drive area along Hwy 16 west of Griffin which ultimately became the longer track tornado which tracked through Griffin. This tornado track will end in the approximate area where it came together with the other circulation.

EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the following categories:

EF0…Weak……65 to 85 mph

EF1…Weak……86 to 110 mph

EF2…Strong….111 to 135 mph

EF3…Strong….136 to 165 mph

EF4…Violent…166 to 200 mph

EF5…Violent…>200 mph


The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to change pending final review of the event and publication in NWS Storm Data.