Center opens to receive storm debris
Weather Service confirms tornado hit community

COVINGTON - Residents left with cleaning up after the tornado that tore through south Newton County on Wednesday night had no doubts what had hit their property, and the National Weather Service has officially agreed - it was an F1 tornado with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

Now all that remains is the hard work of cleaning up what the storm left behind. Newton County Solid Waste Management is making available a Storm Debris Center on Henderson Mill Road that will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Thursday to receive yard waste.

Deputy Director of the Newton County Emergency/Risk Management Jody Nolan said all storm debris should be taken to this specially designated spot. Others should use the Newton County Landfill.

There is no street address for the site, but it is marked with a sign and directions to the location from High Point Forest Road are as follows: Travel north on Ga. Highway 36 for approximately 1 mile; turn right on Henderson Mill Road and travel approximately 5.5 miles to the Debris Center on the left.

The site is available to Newton County residents only, and those depositing debris must show ID with proof of address, Nolan said.

Only wood, trees, limbs, stumps, etc., will be accepted. Stumps should not be more than 8 inches in diameter and logs should be no more that 4 feet long, Nolan said.

Newton County Landfill Manager James Peters said negotiations are in progress with a company which may be interested in grinding the debris into mulch and then using the mulch to make electricity for a small manufacturing plant.

No concrete and no metal will be accepted at the site. That debris should be taken to the Newton County Landfill.

Nolan said there would be an attendant at the Storm Debris Center to assist residents.

Friday Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in four counties affected by Wednesday's severe weather, but Newton County was not among them. The counties are Hancock, Jasper, Thomas and Warren. Officials from these counties requested help from the state after determining that the removal of storm debris exceeded local capabilities, according to the Governor's Office.

There was one death and 22 injuries recorded statewide as a result of the storms, but Nolan said no such reports were received in Newton County.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com