The Red Cross also is doubling its mobile relief efforts in Adairsville and Calhoun this weekend — and the Rome Athletic Club is sponsoring a fundraiser for a 2-year-old and his grandmother who were seriously injured when winds completely demolished their family home.
Authorities believe the tornado swelled to 900 yards wide — more than four times the width of the Georgia Dome — as it tore across Northwest Georgia for nearly 22 miles.
The twister had an estimated peak wind speed of 160 mph when it slammed into Adairsville, officials with the National Weather Service said.
Crews that toured the destruction Thursday rated the tornado, which destroyed more than 60 buildings in Bartow and Gordon counties, as a strong EF3 twister.
The tornado killed an Adairsville man and injured 17 people. Here’s what’s new and how to help in the recovery efforts:
Cleanup volunteers are asked to report at 8 a.m. to the Adairsville Church of God, 297 Old Dixie Highway, for an orientation. The cleanup will go on all day, with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
People with chainsaws and backhoes are especially asked to bring them. For more information, visit www.bartowrecovery.org or call 770-773-3264.
Bartow County officials report that sanitary supplies, gift cards and monetary donations also are needed.
The Red Cross is sending four emergency response vehicles with snacks, water, meals, blankets and clean-up supplies to hard-hit neighborhoods in Bartow and Gordon counties, and will be at Sonoraville High School, 7340 Fairmount Highway in Calhoun, this morning.
Priorities continue to be the feeding and sheltering of families impacted by the disaster, and the bulk distribution of emergency supplies.
To help, go to www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make a credit card donation or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Rome Athletic Club, 10 John Davenport Drive, will host a benefit Burpee workout at 10 a.m. today to raise money for the family of Zane McFarland and his grandmother, Betty Stewart, who shielded the 2-year-old with a quilt and her body when the tornado blew them out of their home. The cost is $10.
RAC General Manager Kelley Abbott said the child is at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger and is expected to be in a body cast for several months. Stewart also is in the hospital with numerous broken bones.
The Georgia Department of Labor plans to open assistance centers in Adairsville on Tuesday to assist workers temporarily out of a job or laid off in the wake of Wednesday’s storm.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the centers, which will be open through Feb. 14, will help people file claims for unemployment insurance benefits and get help with finding a new job.
As of Friday afternoon, North Georgia EMC reported that power had been restored to all but 150 customers in Gordon County.
Paul Ruud, NGEMC vice president of engineering and operations, said complete restoration is expected today but customers may experience brief power interruptions while line feeds are switched back to normal.