Albany still devastated one year after tornado tears through neighborhoods

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 22, 2018

ALBANY, Ga. (WCTV) -- It's been a year since an EF-3 tornado tore through Albany and flattened neighborhoods.

FEMA has since handed out $2 million for recovery, but many areas look untouched.

There is still a lot of visible damage in Albany. People who were impacted by the tornado are slowly but surely putting their homes back together.

But for many, repairs were never an option.

The homes in Big Bend Pines off Holly Drive, formally known as Paradise Village, are completely gone. Work crews took care of what was left after the tornado ripped through the area.

The neighborhood next to the trailer park was spared to a degree. But some homes were so damaged, those living there have not been able to return.

Deborah Jordan lives nearby. She still can't believe what happened around her.

"Trees were down everywhere. Lines were down everywhere. It was just horrible. It was devastating. I'd never been in a storm before. But, I tell you what, we're a little better now. A little better now," Jordan said.

"It was like a war zone over there," said nearby resident Amanda Summer.

She said, "Everything there is now completely gone because there is nothing left salvageable, except for maybe about five homes out of 120."

Summer recalls the sound of the tornado, "It was more of a flat out roar like you'd hear in a small aircraft with no ear protection on. But when it was approaching, yes, it was easily confused with a train."

"All you can do is batten down and pray. I cleared out the whole closet, jumped in it, and prayed," Summer added.

"I remember it just like it was yesterday," Jordan said.

Jordan had to get her roof and windows repaired, but can't believe what happened to the trailer park next door.

"It was just bad. It was just bad. I never experienced anything like that in my life. I tell you, I was devastated for months."

Every pump at the gas station on the corner of Holly Drive and Highway 112 is still knocked over. The gas station and store were totally damaged in last year's tornado.

People in the area say they are grateful for the Salvation Army, Red Cross, FEMA and each other for helping with the progress they have been able to make.

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