About a mile and a half away, a home sat destroyed on Center Road. Someone at both destroyed buildings was taken to the hospital, their conditions unknown.
The National Weather Service tentatively said a tornado ripped through Floyd County, downing trees and power lines.
An official determination of whether a tornado came through won’t be made until after a survey today.
“They form in lines of thunderstorms,” said Steve Nelson, a meteorologist with the NWS. “They’re brief, but they can be severe.”
Though other homes and structures surrounding the Silver Creek store were damaged, Floyd County Police Sgt. Josh Harkins said injuries were minor. One person was taken to a local hospital by ambulance for chest pain, he said.
Sgt. Gary Conway said calls started pouring into 911 at about 5:30 p.m., and it wasn’t five minutes later that the tornado struck the area.
Caught in the storm
Nancy Snead of Reeceburg Road had been watching tornado warning footage on the news at work and tried to rush home, but ended up getting caught in the midst of the storm.
She pulled her truck up to the mini mart and dashed in as it was hit. Snead said she held onto a pole as most of the store was ripped away.
“I just dropped to my knees and held on,” Snead said. “All I could do was pray.”
Miles to the north, Patrick Little was about to leave his Old Summerville Road home and grab some food when he remembered his jacket.
He stayed inside just long enough to escape a tree crashing about 5:30 p.m. onto the roof of his home, breaking through the roof’s shingles and ripping out power lines.
Both his parents were inside the home at the time. No one was injured.
“I heard the tree snap,” Joan Little said. “It was loud when it popped. We knew it hit the house.”
Her husband, Weyman Little, agreed.
“It was just a crash,” he said. “The wind was blowing.”
A massive trunk lay in their front yard. A portion of the tree was on the roof, poking through the shingles.
Downed power lines lay near the road as firefighters waited in the driveway for Georgia Power.
Capt. Grant Collier, with the Rome Fire Department, said it appeared that most houses in the area were without power. However, he wasn’t sure the power lines were dead. He and his crew ensured no one got too close to the lines.
The Littles’ home was included in the list of homes without power. Joan Little shrugged off the inconvenience.
“This can all be fixed,” she said. “It’s all going to be all right. God is still good. It doesn’t matter.”
The Littles’ tree was one of many felled Monday afternoon across Floyd County. As people called the authorities about each tree and power line down, it was scribbled onto a large whiteboard at the heart of the county’s Emergency Operations Center on 12th Street in Rome.
Tim Herrington, the county’s emergency management agency deputy director, stood in the center of the room holding a cell phone. Workers moved around him, looking at the whiteboard to determine their next step.
“We don’t know if it was a tornado or a downburst,” Herrington said.
The calls kept coming over the two-way radio, and the whiteboard list grew. Workers grabbed car keys and chainsaws before leaving for trouble spots, where they would relieve firefighters.
Most of the damage appeared in the area of Ga. 101, though reports came in as far north as Armuchee.
By 10:45 p.m., some 6,300 Georgia Power customers in Rome were without power, compared to 9,600 in Cedartown and 2,800 in Summerville, said Carol Boatright, with Georgia Power.
Families without power sat on their porches in Silver Creek watching cars drive by. Merchants sat outside their stores turning customers away.
Hillary Pendley was working at the E-Z Stop near Wax Road when the storm hit. She heard the wind but didn’t know a storm was happening.
“It almost knocked down the canopy, ripped off the red light,” Pendley said. “I didn’t even know it was going on and I got a call about Silver Creek Mini Mart being destroyed.”
David Coryell, Meggan Nicholson and Terrence Nicholson were working to move a tree off Old Rockmart Road near the residence of Coryell’s girlfriend.
They saw the straight downpour and the nickel-sized hail.
“It just sounded like a tree snapping,” Coryell said.
Polk County affected
Polk County schools will be closed today.
Sammy Stephens, Cedartown fire chief, said he thought straight-line wind caused the damage there.
A tree was reported down on Owens Barbecue on South Main Street and another one across Main Street in front of Bojangle’s. Several trees have been reported toppled on College Street. Another tree is down on Philpot Street near the Cedardown Standard office.
Some traffic signals have been reported damaged on East Avenue and Main Street. A tree was also reported in a house near College Street and Piedmont Avenue in Rockmart.
If you have any photos of storm damage please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see an interactive weather map on Weather.com.