Tornado, Storms Slam Atlanta, Gov. Declares State of Emergency

March 17, 2008

A severe weather system moved into Georgia March 14 resulting in numerous injuries and major destruction and damage to areas of Atlanta and Fulton County, Ga.

The system produced one tornado, injuring at least 20 people and damaging dozens of homes and businesses, according to Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue.

Many state facilities were damaged, including the Georgia Dome, Georgia World Congress Center and Georgia State University. Number 2 Peachtree Street, which houses several state offices including the Department of Human Resources and the Department of Community Health, was also damaged.

On March 15, Perdue issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in the affected areas.

“Last night’s (March 14) storms struck our capital city, a center for business, tourism and government, and we are working with city officials to support them during this disaster,” Perdue said. “State resources are being made available to assist in the cleanup efforts. I have also spoken to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Administrator David Paulison, and we will continue to coordinate closely to marshal federal, state and local resources as we recover.”

The executive order allows for state resources to be available for response and recovery activities, and calls for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to activate the state’s Emergency Operations Plan.

“GEMA deployed resources to the impacted area, including six search and rescue teams, to support response efforts in collapsed structures,” said GEMA Director Charley English. “In addition, public safety agencies, utility companies and the volunteer community are continuing to work together this afternoon (March 15) to begin the process of recovery.”

Joint local, state and federal assessment teams began working Saturday to determine the full scope of the damage to businesses, state facilities and residences.

The operations center will be activated until further notice to provide assistance and will continue to monitor the situation. GEMA is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster response activities.

The Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office is standing by to assist local communities in conjunction with the Office of Homeland Security, Georgia Building Authority, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Technology Authority, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Georgia Department of Defense and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Source: Office of the Governor of Georgia

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