DOERUN, Ga. — John Mark Mobley said the timing could have been a lot worse.
Mobley Gin Co. on Highway 270 was hit by an apparent tornado early this morning. The building was heavily damaged but no one was hurt because no one was there.
“We were getting kind of close to the end of the season,” Mobley said. “We had just gotten done with our 24-hour shift about a week ago.”
Had the crews still been working when the tornado came through, Mobley speculated, people would have been seriously hurt.
“It’s so loud in there,” he said. “What I heard from other people is it just dropped out of the sky. They wouldn’t have had any warning.”
Mobley and the insurance adjuster were viewing the damage around 9:30 a.m. He said they haven’t been able to get inside the building because it’s blocked by debris. The condition of the building makes it too dangerous to get inside now anyway.
“We won’t be ginning any more this year,” Mobley said, “but as soon as we can we’ll get it fixed and get ready for next year.”
Other than the gin, two houses in the county were damaged, county Emergency Management Director Justin Cox said. One of them, across the street from the gin, suffered serious damage to its roof, but the other, on Mt. Sinai Road, was practically destroyed.
Cox said the storm cell came from Decatur County, through Mitchell County and into the Doerun area. He said he hadn’t spoken with his counterpart in Mitchell County yet, but Worth County reported no structural damage.
He said a team from the National Weather Service was coming up from Tallahassee to investigate the storm damage and he hoped to have more information after meeting with them later in the morning.
The NWS website noted a radar-indicated tornado in the Ticknor Road area at 5:27 a.m.
Doerun City Manager Alyssa Blakely said the city itself fared well.
“There was no one injured and we had no damage in the town,” she said.
Electricity was knocked out for a while, she said, but it was quickly restored. As far as city officials could tell, no infrastructure was damaged, even the utilities going to Mobley Gin.
“The storm siren went off right in time,” she said. Residents told her they had adequate time to seek shelter.