Storm damages 56 homes in Gwinnett

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BUFORD, Ga. - A strong storm with a possible tornado tore through a north Georgia town Tuesday, damaging at least 56 homes, downing trees and scattering debris across lawns.

An officer checks on a storm-damaged home Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in Buford, Ga. A strong storm with a possible tornado tore through Buford Tuesday, damaging at least 56 homes, downing trees and scattering debris across lawns.   AP Photo/Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Phil Skinner
AP Photo/Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Phil Skinner
An officer checks on a storm-damaged home Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in Buford, Ga. A strong storm with a possible tornado tore through Buford Tuesday, damaging at least 56 homes, downing trees and scattering debris across lawns.

Gwinnett County authorities said no one was injured in the Buford storm, which caused major damage to about 12 homes and was part of a system of severe weather that battered much of the state. Gwinnett County police officers spent the afternoon going door-to-door to be sure residents were safe.

Rachel Shuler, 35, was home with her 2-year-old when she heard the rain start to pick up and the wind gusting outside.

"My first reaction was to grab my baby and run into the bathroom," she said. "I don't remember any sound but my ears popped. It was very scary."

Shuler's house was virtually untouched but her next door neighbor's home suffered heavy damage with a section of the house missing and the front door and window blown out.

"I feel so blessed," Shuler said, choking up. "But my best friends live next door and I feel so bad about what happened to them."

Dorin Cret, 32, a construction worker, was sitting in his Dodge Ram truck on a Buford street when the storm blew through.

"It was raining real hard and out of nowhere a gust of wind came, and I felt my truck shake from side to side," Cret said. "I thought it would flip over."

The neighborhood in Buford, just north of Atlanta, was covered in debris after Tuesday's storm. Strong winds blew away chunks of homes, snapped trees and downed power lines. Police say at least one home was completely destroyed.

National Weather Service officials are making plans to visit the site to determine whether the damaged was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds.

Jeri Tyler spent her afternoon and evening trying to fix a fence on her property to keep her five horses from escaping. The storm destroyed her eight-stall barn.

"It's hit good," she said of the barn. "I was around the corner, and I heard trees breaking. Crack, crack, crack."


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