The tornado that ripped through Lamar County early Thursday was been classified by the National Weather Service as reaching EF3 strength with winds of 140 mph.Meanwhile a fund has been established through the Barnesville-Lamar County Community Foundation for storm relief. Donations are tax deductible and eligible for matching contributions from the Central Georgia Community Foundation.Lamar County residents are now eligible to apply for individual federal disaster assistance.Here is the NWS summary:The tornado touched down at approximately 1238 AM EDT Thursday morning along highway 19 about 4 miles south of Meansville in south central Pike County. Three houses were destroyed along Piedmont Road about three miles west of Barnesville. Two fatalities occurred when a house was destroyed along Grove Street in Lamar County. A Chevron gas station and a church were destroyed in Barnesville. Three tractor trailers were blown off the road near I-75 at approximately 102 AM EDT. Three houses were damaged, one of which was destroyed. Three people were injured in the damaged house. The tornado lifted in southeast Butts County at approximately 115 AM EDT. The tornado had a path length of apprxoimately 30 miles and a maximum width of six tenths of a mile. Donation are sorely needed! Checks may be made out to the Barnesville-Lamar County Tornado Relief Fund and dropped off at any United Bank location. You may also mail your check to The Herald-Gazette, P.O. Box 220, Barnesvile, Ga. 30204 to the attention of Walter Geiger and we will direct them to the fund.Lamar County residents are now eligible to apply for disaster assistance which could include housing assistance, low–interest loans to repair or replace storm–damaged property or grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.To apply, call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-3362 or go to www.fema.gov. In addition to name and social security number, the affected family’s gross income and insurance information should be provided.Latest update from Erin Cook Southern Rivers Energy on outages:Less than 300 members remain without power as of 1:30, Saturday. SRE is working with an additional 60 EMC personnel from neighboring co-ops to rebuild the damaged electric system and restore power. Crews will continue working until everyone’s power has been restored which will likely be Sunday, but homes that suffered major structural damage will have to repaired before their service can safely be restored.Crews have made tremendous progress setting poles, clearing right-of-way and pulling wire in an effort to rebuild the system. The Sheriff’s department and the National Guard continue to control traffic around Grove Street which is a huge help with the efficiency of the restoration process. We sincerely appreciate all the help and support from our fellow EMCs, local law enforcement, and the community as we work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Please remember to stay away from any downed power lines.
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