Severe WX Severe Weather Threat Jan 12th, 2023

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FFC report on the Griffin EF3.

..Pike/Spalding/Henry County Tornado...

Rating: EF3
Estimated Peak Wind: 150 mph
Path Length /statute/: 31.9 miles
Path Width /maximum/: TBD
Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 18

Start Date: 01/12/2023
Start Time: 4:11 PM EST
Start Location: 1 W Hollonville / Pike County / GA
Start Lat/Lon: 33.1643 / -84.4861

End Date: 01/12/2023
End Time: 4:44 PM EST
End Location: 3 SW Fincherville / Henry County / GA
End Lat/Lon: 33.3740 / -84.0014

Survey Summary:

Per 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 would become the dominant circulation
which impacted Griffin and much of Spalding County and Southern
Henry County. The tornado first touched down in Northwest Pike
County along HWY 362 west of Irish Hill Drive where a few trees
were snapped and uprooted and quickly increased in intensity to
EF1 as it crossed Kings Bridge Road, Huff Creek Rd and Scott Road
where numerous trees were snapped and uprooted. As the storm
crossed Blanton Mill Road more severe damage was noted both on
the
ground and areal survey and it was determined that EF2 damage was
present in the area around Nunnally Rd and Bethany Road where
widespread snapping of trees occurred and a few structures were
severely damaged. The storm continued ENE crossing into Spalding
County southwest of Williamson Road where EF2 damage was noted.
As
the storm passed Rover-Zetella Rd it was noted on radar that the
merging of circulations began to occur with the tornado which
formed briefly in SW Spalding county. It was near this point the
tornado and the wind damage was noted as widespread spanning
nearly 2 miles across with very strong inflow winds noted to the
south near Rover Rd and Rover-Zetella Rds. It was at this point
the tornado reached peak intensity of 145-150 mph and several
homes were completely destroyed along Kendall Drive. 2 homes in
particular were noted to be completely destroyed down to the
foundation however further inspection of the homes revealed that
the walls were not anchored fully anchored into the concrete thus
a higher rating could not be determined from those homes. The
resident of one of those homes rode out the storm in his bathtub,
however the bathtub and all plumbing fixtures were torn away from
the slab and tossed into the nearby woods. The survivor of the
home was miraculously uninjured and got out to help neighbors.

Further west along Kendall Drive several homes were also
completely destroyed with several others suffering major damage
thus the EF3 rating. Major to severe damage was also noted along
Maloy Road, Hwy 16, areas around Griffin High School, The club at
Shoal Creek and North Pine Hill Road. As the tornado approached
Hwy 19, per UGA faculty, the UGA facility at Dempsey Farm
recorded
a wind speed of 81.1 mph before the anemometer/wind combo
instrument blew off the tower. The tornado continued ENE through
the community of Experiment to the NW of the town of Griffin
crossing HWY 92 where numerous business and homes suffered damage
either from wind or fallen trees consistent with EF0 through EF1
damage. A weather instrument on the south end of the tornado
swath
at the UGA Griffin Campus recorded a 73.9 mph wind gust as the
storm passed by. Damage in the area was consistent with EF0 type
wind damage. The tornado struck a Hobby Lobby building in an
around Experiment St and Hwy 92 which suffered severe damage to
the roof, and exterior walls on the northeast side. Damage to the
building was consistent with EF2 winds of approximately 130 mph.
The tornado continued Northeast through the northside of Griffin
with mostly EF0-EF1 type wind damage. Pockets of more severe
damage were noted along Northside Drive and McIntosh Road
consistent with high end EF1 damage. The tornado continued
northeast crossing Smoak Road and N. McDonough road where it was
noted both on the ground and from the air that the circulation
weakened and the damage become more sporadic in nature
particularly the area from Amelia rd eastward to I75 in southern
Henry County. Once the circulation crossed I75 intensity of the
tornado increased to a mid to high end E1 with damage in the city
of Locust Grove. The tornado crossed LG Griffin Road where it
impacted numerous homes in a subdivision and snapped or uprooted
trees. The storm crossed Stanley K Tanger Road and through
another
neighborhood affecting several homes including some high end EF1
damage. As the storm crossed Hwy 23 numerous trees were snapped
or
uprooted and a new TDS appeared on radar. The tornado continued
NE across Jackson St, Grove Park Drive, Skyland Dr, S. Unity
Grove
Road and S Ola grove road snapping and uprooting trees as well as
causing EF0 or in some cases EF1 damage to homes. The storm
continued ENE snapping and uprooting trees through Peaksville
Road
where it shortly there after become less defined and eventually
merged with the circulation/tornado ongoing to the south in the
Jenkinsburg area. According to Spalding County officials,
approximately 1465 homes were affected in the city of Griffin and
754 were affected in the county with at least 250+ suffering
major
damage or destroyed with assessments still ongoing. Additional
numbers from Pike and Henry county will be added to the total
when
assessments are completed. Additional data will be examined to
determine the maximum width of the tornado. As mentioned in the
summary, the damage area west of Griffin is approximately 2 miles
wide, however, areal survey confirms a wide area of EF0 and EF1
inflow wind damage from the south thus determining a max width
will take more examination of the data.
At least 2 miles wide. Largest in state history. Previous largest was a tie between the Henderson Mountain F3 on March 27, 1994 and the Dahlonega F3 also on March 27, 1994 at 2613 yards.
 
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At least 2 miles wide. Largest in state history. Previous largest was a tie between the Henderson Mountain F3 on March 27, 1994 and the Dahlonega F3 also on March 27, 1994 at 2613 yards.
Yup. Granted it obviously wasn’t anywhere near el-Reno, Hallam, or bassfield levels not by a mile….but a two mile wide tornado is a two mile wide tornado none the less as not many states have seen one of those…

But also….a record breaking Georgia tornado, in January? This year may be…scary…to say the least…
 
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Yup. Granted it obviously wasn’t anywhere near el-Reno, Hallam, or bassfield levels not by a mile….but a two mile wide tornado is a two mile wide tornado none the less as not many states have seen one of those…

But also….a record breaking Georgia tornado, in January? This year may be…scary…to say the least…
Apparently the max width for Griffin is 2.1 miles.

1. El Reno, OK (May 31, 2013, 2.6 miles)
2. Hallam, NE (May 22, 2004, 2.5 miles)
3. Bassfield, MS (April 12, 2020)/McColl, SC-Red Springs, NC (March 28, 1984) (2.25 miles)
4. Moshannon State Forest, PA (May 31, 1985, 2.2 miles)
5. Griffin, GA (January 12, 2023, 2.1 miles)
 
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Apparently the max width for Griffin is 2.1 miles.

1. El Reno, OK (May 31, 2013, 2.6 miles)
2. Hallam, NE (May 22, 2004, 2.5 miles)
3. Moshannon State Forest, PA (May 31, 1985, 2.2 miles)
4. Griffin, GA (January 12, 2023, 2.1 miles)
5. Bassfield, MS (April 12, 2020)/McColl, SC-Red Springs, NC (March 28, 1984) (2.25 miles)
Uhm…aren’t those last three out of order?
 
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Apparently the max width for Griffin is 2.1 miles.

1. El Reno, OK (May 31, 2013, 2.6 miles)
2. Hallam, NE (May 22, 2004, 2.5 miles)
3. Moshannon State Forest, PA (May 31, 1985, 2.2 miles)
4. Griffin, GA (January 12, 2023, 2.1 miles)
5. Bassfield, MS (April 12, 2020)/McColl, SC-Red Springs, NC (March 28, 1984) (2.25 miles)
Update. Yeah I'm wrong. Fixing.
 
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So just casually the fifth widest tornado on record in the middle of January……

We seem to be entering a prolonged trend where all the historic record breaking tornadoes happen in winter and no time else…..
 
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