Sheriff’s home among dozens damaged in Houston County tornado, officials say

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) – A tornado likely caused a line of destruction at Stratham’s Landing near Warner Robins on Tuesday.

Amid the roar of chainsaws and heavy equipment flooding his neighborhood on Wednesday, Larry Smith sat in silence as crews removed four trees from the top of his home, which he has shared with his for 28 years. The couple were home on Tuesday afternoon when a storm tore through their quiet neighborhood, located minutes from Robins Air Force Base.

“I’ve been through hurricanes and two typhoons, nothing like that,” Smith said. “The house was shaking. You hear glass breaking and trees hitting the house, then all of a sudden it’s over.

Houston County Director of Emergency Management Christopher Stoner told CBS46 that the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado had been hit. However, he said representatives were still assessing the strength of the storm. Although no one was injured, at least 25 homes were damaged, mostly on Fairways Rd.

“We watched the rotation go through the county, just a wide rotation and as it hit that Bonair community there it tightened up and we noticed the debris signature on the radar which gave us our first indication and we started funneling resources to that direction based on that,” Stoner said.

Neighbors spent Wednesday cleaning up debris, chopping down fallen trees, sheeting open roofs and boarding up broken windows. Surrounded by debris sat a teal 1967 Chevy pickup, parked on the street. It belonged to Smith.

“It’s been in the family since day one,” Smith said.

Smith spent years repairing it after his brother-in-law died in 2017. The antique vehicle was spared in the storm, sustaining only a few bumps to the bumper and scratches.

“It’s an act of God,” Smith said. “That’s all you can say.”

While the 81-year-old car enthusiast was happy the truck was not badly damaged, he said he was more grateful no one was injured or killed in the storm.

Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton’s home was also damaged by a large tree. His house and a few others remain inaccessible to traffic due to downed transmission lines on Old Hawkinsville Road.

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