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Storm rips north St. Simons
An afternoon thunderstorm that prompted tornado warnings in Liberty County and a severe weather warning in Glynn County cut across the Golden Isles Monday afternoon, knocking down trees and causing several power outages.

Mark Noble, a charter fishing captain who lives off Lawrence Road in the north end of St. Simons Island, said he returned home to find trees uprooted in his yard.

He said the damage left in the path of the storm, which hit around 3:30 p.m., led him to suspect tornadic activity.

"It looked like it could have been two clouds or two twisters," he said. "It took a bunch of my trees up and laid a 100-foot pine across my gas line. I've got a pretty bad gas leak here now."

Noble said the two paths of damage were about 400 feet apart.

"Live oaks and water oaks are all uprooted around the island, up here," he said. "A lot of tree tops are torn off and things uprooted."

Noble said "probably around 30 or so trees" were down or damaged by high winds.

On the north end of the island, fierce winds came quickly, sweeping across the marsh from the mainland, bringing a torrential rain that slammed hard into windows and homes under construction in Frederica.

Almost as quickly, the wind subsided and the rain continued to fall for about 30 minutes.

On the Frederica golf course, five or six large trees were uprooted or snapped off at ground level. The course was closed for springtime aerification, so no players were on it.

By nightfall, the weather was calm and work crews continued the cleanup.

Matt Zibura, meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Jacksonville, said no tornadic activity was reported in the Glynn County area. "We had strong winds there -- no tornados," he said. "Just a few downbursts."

A downburst can be produced when rain cools the air.

The weather service is calling for a 80 percent chance of rain today and tonight with a high around 90 degrees.

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