Overnight Storms, Tornadoes, Cause Damage in North Georgia


Major storms crossed the Southeast last week including a tornado causing significant damage in the Newnan area. There are reports of wind damage and localized flooding in other parts of the conference. Our neighbors in Alabama also saw storm damage and multiple fatalities. The North Georgia Conference is coordinating with UMCOR, Early Response Teams, and with Coweta County Emergency Management. Response work is underway. Read on for updates: 

UPDATE: March 31
In addition to the trained ERT teams who are serving in Newnan this week, the United Methodist Churches of Newnan are serving their community. 

Newnan Chapel UMC sustained damage in the storm, losing part of its roof and windows shattered. Damage to the property in the community around the church is great. Yet the church members and pastor Rev. Terri Lemons still worshipped Palm Sunday and spent the week serving the hard-hit community surrounding the church and offering outreach to displaced neighbors. 

March 30 through April 3 Newnan First UMC is serving as an emergency shelter for storm victims. They, along with several other Newnan churches, will open their building from 4 pm to 8 am. 

"This is just one way we can help," said Rev. Andrew Chappell, associate pastor of Newnan First. "Please continue to pray for this community and the hands and feet hard at work."

UPDATE: March 30
The National Weather Service has confirmed that last week's storm included an EF4 tornado in Heard, Coweta, and Fayette counties, an EF1 tornado in Bartow county, and a significant downburst in Polk county.

UPDATE: March 27, 12 pm
The North Georgia Conference has established a fund (Fund #3752) for Newnan Area Tornados. These funds will be used for North Georgia Conference Disaster Response efforts. Give through any North Georgia Conference United Methodist Church by indicating that your gift is for "Fund 3752" or "Newnan Area Tornados." Donations may also be made to UMCOR US Disaster Response #901670. Please do not collect unsolicited items such as water or clothing.

UPDATE: March 26, 1 pm
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson has requested, and UMCOR granted, a solidarity grant to the North Georgia Conference for emergency response in the Newnan area. The funds will be used on response efforts in coordination with Coweta County Emergency Management. 

Photo from Rev. Yolanda Jones-Colton of a Newnan home destroyed by Thursday night's tornado.

UPDATE: March 26, 9 a.m.

Damage to Your Church or Community
As a reminder, if your church was damaged in the storms, clergy should make two calls. First, alert the chair of trustees who should contact the church's insurance provider and second call your District Superintendent who will update Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Scott Parrish (scott.parrish@ngumc.net). 

If there is storm damage in your community, begin by coordinating with your local EMA and Red Cross who will plan the response. 

Serving Our Neighbors
North Georgia is in touch with UMCOR and with churches in each of the communities with known damage. Outside teams are not yet needed, but trained ERTs will receive an update as needs are assessed. 

Hundreds of North Georgia Early Response Team members are on call and ready to respond when they are needed. 

How to Give (And What Not to Give)
Our best response at this time is through prayers and financial gifts. Donations can be marked for North Georgia Conference Fund #4390 or made to UMCOR US Disaster Response #901670. Please do not collect unsolicited items such as water or clothing. 

Information on how we can serve will be shared as available in the coming days by email, at www.ngumc.org, and www.facebook.com/ngaumc. 

Photo of storm damage in Newnan from Rev. Yolanda Jones-Colton.