Still Cleaning Up from April Tornado in Meriwether County

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

MANCHESTER, GA (WTVM) - Driving through Meriwether County you can still see the devastation from the tornado that ripped through in April.

Blue tarps are still on roofs and uprooted trees left on the ground.

One of the hardest hit areas was the Ashley Lakes Mobile Home Community.  It sits in between Manchester and Warm Springs and there are still empty lots where families homes were demolished by the winds.

Dextral Austin, owner of the trailer park, remembered that night in April, "I was awakened to my cell phone going off about 12:15. People calling to describe the damage. But, even with their description we were shocked when we got here and saw how bad it was."

The tornado took out eight of the twelve trailers on Austin's property. He and his wife have owned the property for tem years.  They are slowly picking up the pieces. Austin said help from the community and volunteers has sped up the process, but there is still more to do.

They have kept up with the families who were displaced by the storm. "They have gone to apartments in the area, to some public housing in one case, and living with family."

Now, the couple spends every weekend working to rebuild what the tornado left behind.

"We have an emotional commitment to the property. We want to be good citizens of Meriwether County and not leave an eyesore, but leave something that is attractive and hopefully will serve the community well," said Austin.

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