A line of severe weather that spawned tornados and is reported to have killed more than 30 people from Louisiana to South Carolina on Easter Sunday and Monday downed trees and damaged property in Hart County.
Local residents were mostly unscathed by the brunt of the storm when it rolled through the area early Monday morning. No tornados or deaths were reported in Hart County.
Hart County Administrator and emergency management director Terrell Partain said compared to nearby areas like Habersham County and Seneca, S.C., where one person died as a result of the storm, Hartwell was lucky.
“By looking at some of the pictures I’ve seen, we came out a lot better than some other places,” Partain said.
Still, dozens of trees fell around the county and some property damage, like the roof of a building housing boats at a mechanic’s shop on Elberton Highway, was reported.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency due to the storm through April 23. The order will coexist with the public health state of emergency declared for the ongoing pandemic. The declaration authorizes the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to commit resources of the state to the affected areas.
Hart County road crews and local utility workers were hard at work at daylight on Monday morning, clearing trees from roads and utility lines. No long-term road closures were reported.
Statewide, there were eight deaths reported as of Tuesday morning due to the storm. An EF-1 tornado was confirmed in Stephens and Barto counties. Possible tornados were reported in other counties, including Murray, in Northwest Georgia, where seven people were reportedly killed by the storm.
The storms also left many people in Northeast Georgia without power for much of the day on Monday.
Locally, Hart EMC reported in a Facebook post at 7:25 a.m. Monday that 10,282 of its members were without power at the time. Most of those customers were in Franklin and Stephens counties. Hart EMC serves customers in Hart, Franklin, Elbert, Stephens, Banks and Madison counties.
Georgia Power reported more than 50,000 customers without power system wide at one point Monday morning.
Harry Gerapetritis, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Greenville, said the storms were the result of a very strong low-pressure system driving a cold front through the area that mixed with warm and unstable air when it entered the Southeast.
Strong winds were accompanied by torrential rain at times early Monday. Gerapetritis said Hart County received a little more than two inches of rain in the 24-hour period of 9 a.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. Monday.
The weather service is predicting sunny days on Thursday and Friday, April 16 and 17, but there is a 30 percent chance of rain forecast for Friday night and Saturday. Those chances increase to 40 percent Saturday night and 50 percent on Sunday to go along with partly sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 70s.
The sun is predicted to be back out in full on Monday accompanied by a high temperature of 75 degrees.