Preliminary numbers from the National Weather Service show 95 tornadoes nationwide in January alone. Compare that to 16 last year, including twisters spawned by storms walloping north Georgia, and a three-year January average of just 12 storms. But meteorologists say lots of activity early in the year doesn’t mean much.
Rain and high winds moved across north Georgia Wednesday evening, and one person was reported killed when a tree fell on an SUV. At least five others have been killed in other Southeast states and dozens more injured.
Georgia might not be deeply affected by a stoppage of FEMA disaster funds -- at least in the short term. The U.S. Senate on Monday was set to vote on a bill that would in part restore money to FEMA's disaster relief fund. Georgia emergency officials say much of the already-approved federal assistance money would not be affected.
Twisters and heavy rains were the result of slow-moving remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that pushed through the northern portion of Georgia. State emergency officials say nearly 100 homes were damaged in north Georgia’s Cherokee County from severe weather that moved through Monday.
Authorities say one person was injured in a possible tornado in Cherokee County as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee crossed the state. Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff's department said the storm toppled trees Monday afternoon and several trees landed in homes. He said the victim was taken to the hospital but the person's condition is not known.
The town of Ringgold was among several in northwest Georgia that suffered widespread devastation from the April tornadoes. Ringgold High School absorbed significant damage, including to outside structures like the football stadium. But the school's principal says the community is healing, much because of its football team.
Hurricane Irene victims will be getting money promised to areas ravaged by tornadoes this Spring, including Georgia. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund is running low so the agency is diverting the money to address immediate needs on the East coast.
A spate of recent natural disasters could bump Georgia insurance rates, but not right away. State insurance officials say April tornadoes caused $145 million in losses. The Georgia Office of the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner reviews rate increase requests. An official says the 2008 tornadoes, not this year's, are affecting current requests.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says application deadlines are approaching to file initial claims for disaster unemployment assistance benefits relating to tornadoes that struck the state late last month.