Wild weather

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 05:30 AM

A strong line of storms slammed into Rutherford County and western North Carolina Wednesday evening.

The storms opened by hitting an area from Georgia to Arkansas Wednesday morning after causing wind damage and strong thunderstorms in the Midwest on Tuesday.

“It’s a squall line and we are seeing some pretty strong storms with heavy rainfall attached to those,” said Scott Krentz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service based at the Greenville/Spartanburg (SC) International Airport.

Tornadoes sprung up north of Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon causing damage and the closure of Interstate 75 after cars were flipped over and tossed into the shoulders.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes in Georgia on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve had some severe storms back in October but, this is one of the strongest that we’ve seen,” Krentz said.

As the line moved into Rutherford County they became more organized and brought heavy rain and strong winds into the area. The county was under a tornado watch until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“These storms, once they are more organized, they will have a lot of wind and cause some damage,” Krentz said. “The mountains and around the area have seen a lot of that kind of damage.”

The strongest part of the storm moved through the area and exited at around 7 p.m. however, localized heavy rains continued to persist in western North Carolina into the later hours of the day.

“It was very slow-moving and that can lead to some flooding concerns across the area,” Krentz said. “It was aligned just right to have a lot of rainfall.”

Krentz said that, following the storm of this magnitude, it is not uncommon to see damage around the area.

“It is fairly localized so, any damage will be isolated,” Krentz said.

In Tennessee, officials confirmed that a tornado with winds upwards of 115 mph touched down in Mount Juliet, according to the Associated Press. There were no serious injuries reported however, the storm left a damage path approximately 150 yards wide, including homes, a warehouse and an automotive business.

According to the Storm Prediction Center, the nation had seen its longest stretch without a storm fatality. The last fatality was recorded on June 24, 2012, when a person was killed in a home in Highlands County, Fla. That was 220 days ago as of Tuesday.