8/30/05 REPORT: Georgia

May 7, 2005
South Carolina
Wow, what a night! At 6PM, I threw my camcorder in the car, and took off down I-85 from South Carolina. I pulled up the radar on my cell phone, and saw a small looking cell moving toward 85 about 35 milrs from where I was. Knowing the area, I went to Commerce, GA, and waited. What I saw was a classic supercell, with the beautiful layered bowl shape componants. There were NO warnings, which really surprised me. After about 10 minutes, the weather radio started going beserk, and the tornado warning was issued for 3 miles from where I was, and then I saw it. A rapidly rotating "wall" cloud, moving up the base , and under a small shelf cloud. Awesome! The sirens started, and it was an andrenaline rush! The inflow before the funnel appeared was intense, as the wind was rushing from my back into it, and then silence, and then the wind picked up into my face. Very little lightning, and NO rain, made it even better. Took videos, and a few on my cell phone, but took the card out of my digital camera earlier in the day to get pics made!! I was surprised to see such a well formed supercell, considering this was an ouffspring of Katrina. Also....later last night, we tried to chase, at dark, (NOT something I would normally do) a tornado-warned area around Helen, GA, which was just 30 miles from Commerce. This was a completely different storm. We got close to where we needed to be, but then the rain started, and we saw police lights, etc, and we felt we needed to turn back. Also, that is a VERY hilly, and mountainous area. To dangerous. The bottom line....Helen was hit with a tube, and it done a lot of damage. The pics are on CNN. I guess chasing at night is NEVER a good idea. We were 2 miles from the Econo Lodge, on the outside of Helen, and I beleive that is one of the structures that was destroyed. Any, if I can figure out how to post the pics from my cell, I will.