Confirmed tornadoes hit Wakulla, Cook counties Sunday

Two tornadoes were confirmed to have hit Wakulla and Cook counties on Sunday.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:05 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:59 PM EST
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WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - Bobbi Joe Edwards said he has never witnessed a storm like the one that went though his Miller Road home in Wakulla County early Sunday afternoon.

”I told my family we’re going to go lay down in the hallway,” he said. “So all of us got in the hallway and laid down.“

They weren’t in the hallway for five minutes when the sun shined on their home again, Edwards said. They then inspected the damage that the National Weather Service confirmed was a tornado that went through a portion of Wakulla County and farther northeast in Cook County, Ga.

The animated radar image shows a broken line of showers and thunderstorms from around the time...
The animated radar image shows a broken line of showers and thunderstorms from around the time the brief tornado in Wakulla County took place.(Radarscope)

A squall line moved through the Big Bend and South Georgia Sunday afternoon which brought multiple severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

The Cook County tornado was rated an EF2 with maximum wind speeds of 115 mph, according to the National Weather Service. That tornado, which started at 6:20 p.m. Sunday just west of I-75, had a path of almost 6 miles according to their damage report. It crossed through portions of Adel with ”significant structural damage” to a family home. Before ending near the Cook-Berrien County Line, the twister also shifted a building off its foundation, snapped trunks of trees, and dropped trees on a few homes.

The radar animation shows the reflectivity (left) and velocity (right) of the tornadic storm...
The radar animation shows the reflectivity (left) and velocity (right) of the tornadic storm that moved through Cook County, Ga. Sunday evening. The tight and bright cluster of red and green on the right-hand side of the image shows the tornado signature from the Moody Air Force Base radar.(Radarscope)

In Wakulla County, the tornado was rated an EF1 with maximum wind speeds of 95 mph, according to their updated storm report Monday evening. The twister only had a path of around a third of a mile and lasted only around a minute when it struck at 12:45 p.m. Sunday.

Several pine and oak trees were snapped, which showed signs of extremely strong winds, according to Felicia Bowser, a meteorologist at the Tallahassee National Weather Service Forecast Office. Most of the damage was confined to Bob Miller Road and Ashley Hall Road. Other neighborhoods in the area had some smaller impacts.

Bowser reminded people to know what to do when severe weather hits and know how to get critical storm information.

”Make sure that you know where to go in case there is a weather emergency,“ Bowser said.

The American Red Cross of Tallahassee dispatched crews to assist those in the area Sunday. They responded to three homes, according to the Red Cross Director Sharon Carraway, with one home having significant damage.

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee are set to survey the damage left behind by two different lines of storms on Sunday.

The first line pushed through the Big Bend Sunday around 12:30 p.m., damaging Northeast Wakulla County near Woodville and Wakulla Springs. According to storm reports and viewer photos, multiple trees were snapped over and debris laying around. Talquin Electric reported over 1,700 customers were without power because of the damage.

The second line pushed across the entire WCTV viewing area a little after 5 p.m. Sunday causing damage across South Georgia. During the storm, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for parts of Colquitt, Cook, and Barrien Counties. An Emergency Manager in Cook County reports “heavy damage” in the Kent Thomas and Bear Creek subdivisions in Adel. A great deal of damage was also reported from Highway 41 in Adel to the Berrien County line.

As of Monday morning, it was not immediately clear what time the meteorologists would head out to survey the damage.

The storm damage also brought back scary memories for those in Cook County. Sunday marked exactly six years since a deadly tornado outbreak in South Georgia on January 22, 2017. In all, 16 people lost their lives to that storm system. Seven were in a mobile home park in Adel.