TALBOTTON, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency for three Georgia counties after the weekend's tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
The governor's executive order comes as officials assess the human toll of hard-hit areas in Alabama and Georgia. One of the hardest hit areas in Georgia was Talbot County.
The FOX 5 Storm Chaser went through Talbot County Monday morning after the sun came up and saw some of the mass destruction left behind by the powerful storms.
Kemp's executive order declared a state of emergency in Grady, Harris, and Talbot counties, saying that it was "imperative" that the state takes "swift action" to help Georgians in the counties.
"This declaration immediately dispatches additional first responders and assistance as we continue to assess the damage," Kemp said in a statement.
Kemp is also planning to travel to Talbot County by helicopter to see the damage.
"We extend our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by severe weather in Georgia and Alabama, where citizens in Lee County are reeling from the deaths of at least twenty-three people and massive structural damage," he said.
In Talbotton, Georgia, a city of fewer than 900 people, several homes and buildings were leveled. Power poles were snapped and debris was scattered across roadways.
Much of the damage in Talbotton is concreted to Highway 41, about a half-mile north of the County Courthouse. Numerous homes were destroyed, some flattened to the ground. Two apartment buildings were also leveled, sending debris across the street.
On Sunday, FOX 5’s Will Nunley came across a small family church in Talbotton called St. Mark's. It was a startling sight as the entire cinder block structure was leveled. All, that is, except the pulpit which appeared mostly untouched.
A video shows the large concrete blocks on top of the remains of church pews.
Thankfully, the storm came through during the early afternoon, so there were no reports of anyone inside or injured from the collapse.
Talbotton is located about 30 miles northeast of Columbus, Georgia, 55 miles west-southwest of Macon, Georgia, and about 75 miles south of Atlanta.