WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Just after 5 p.m. on Saturday, a tornado touched down on Wilmington Island and some people ran for cover.
Resident Kathy Sharpe was one of them and said the day started out regular, but things quickly took a turn for the worse.
“A friend of mine kept saying it looks like a tornado is forming and we didn’t think that was the case and sure enough within seconds I mean, it just it came so quickly that we just ran and got inside,” Sharpe said.
CEMA has a siren system in place to alert people when a tornado is coming. That was not the case for this situation, so they issued a statement saying in part:
“After initial investigation, it has been determined that the National Weather Service server that pushes information to the siren controller was offline for maintenance. Notice of this planned maintenance was not communicated to CEMA’s vendor, WeatherWarn, or CEMA.”
This means the only way people knew a storm was here, was by seeing it approaching and then running for shelter.
After the storm had passed it was revealed there was damage throughout Wilmington Island. Chuck Kearns with CEMA said at one point several people were trapped because of the aftermath.
” Behind here we have power lines down, people are trapped behind them. They’re not hurt, we just can’t get them out because we need Georgia power out here to make sure the lines are not active,” Kearns said.
The National Weather Service will be on the island to survey and assess the damages on Sunday. Right now there are no details about the EF rating or path length.