Small towns mourn after tornadoes in Georgia and Alabama

“I’m only going to take it one day at a time,” said Kevinta Turner, 43, who hadn’t been able to sleep, his mind still clouded by calls for help from people trapped in the rubble, including his uncle and a 13-year-old girl. years, both survived.

Mr. Bowers’ family had leaned toward the eight-acre property in Ohatchee, beginning in 1986. Mr. Turner had come from Los Angeles to join them. Before long, some 13 family members were living in the five mobile homes.

Bowers said his sister Barbara Harris and her husband, Joe Harris, were the head of the family. They are the ones people came to with their problems and to resolve disputes, he said. Now both her sister and brother-in-law were dead, as was her daughter, Ebonique Harris, 38.

And, he said, he had to become the leader of the family.

“I have to get these people where they need to be,” Bowers said of his surviving family members. “I have to bury the others.”

In Newnan, a city of about 40,000 people southwest of Atlanta, a tornado ripped through a swath of the city around midnight. The devastation became apparent after dawn on Friday: huge old trees had been uprooted and smashed into roofs, and yards and roads were a mess of scattered shingles and branches.

However, amid the destruction, signs also emerged of a small town coming together, beginning to repair what had been broken: people walked the streets with chainsaws and gasoline cans. Church members offered cookies, bottles of water, and prayers. Neighbors were cutting fallen branches and carrying baskets while collecting belongings that had been scattered from houses where residents may not be able to return for some time.

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