Hinesville, Ga (WSAV) – Cleanup was the name of the game out at Fort Stewart Thursday as workers tried to get dozens of families’ lives back to normal. Wednesday afternoon’s confirmed tornado, an E-F1 with 100-105 mph winds, ripped through the base, damaging homes, cars and several buildings. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Thursday morning, forestry crews came ready- for a job that’s sure to last a few days or more. “The trees are bound up and when you start sawing them they spring and come loose; it’s pretty dangerous,” forestry worker Robert Rogers said. Meteorologist Ron Morales with the National Weather Service surveyed the damage, finding the hardest hit area off Greene Street, where close to 50 residents were forced out of their homes after 100 mile per hour winds swept through their neighborhood.
It was a powerful tornado they admittedly weren’t expecting. “In this case, it developed and went to 30 mph so you really have got to be on it quickly,” Morales told News 3. “It’s just one of those situations where it caught us quick and we were a little bit behind on getting that warning out.” While restoration for the hardest hit could take up to two weeks or more, the feeling around the base is thankfulness. There’s so much damage, but not a single injury to report.
“You want to say that you get lucky and holy cow were we ever fortunate to have a tornado pass right through the middle of post, two housing areas, through a motor pool, over the barracks, extremely fortunate to not have anyone seriously injured or killed,” Col. Townley Hedrick said.
About 20 families out at Fort Stewart were still out of their homes Thursday. Only three or four homes were still without power Thursday afternoon. The some 20 families who can’t go back to their homes yet are staying at the hotel on post. They will have the option to permanently relocate to different housing if the timeline for their repairs is extensive, according to Hedrick.