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Storm hit state hard, but left no injuries
...a tornado tore apart homes in Fayette and south Fulton counties...
Homeowners spent Tuesday wiping tears, sweeping their properties and trying to figure out what to do next amid building debris and toppled trees... They were puzzled, like meteorologists and government officials, over why a tornado hit Georgia in the midst of winter. The National Weather Service categorized the tornado as an F2 with windspeeds of up to 150 miles per hour.
"We were quite surprised to have a storm like this this time of the year," said John Oxendine, state commissioner of insurance, who visited the damaged neighborhoods in Fayette, Fulton and Pike counties. "This was a very powerful storm. Some houses were virtually annihilated."
No injuries were reported, but the damage was extensive, from mansions with multi-garages to brick cottages. Oxendine estimated statewide losses at more than $3 million, but he expected that figure to climb.
Review of the year: Disasters
We live, generally, in a world which we feel is ordered. Underpinned by the constant advances of science and technology, and the ever-increasing sophistication of human society, we proceed about our lives cherishing the illusion that we are somehow in control. But just occasionally, nature intervenes with a rude reminder of just how fragile is the grip that we humans have on our planet.
In the past 12 months, nature has been working overtime with her assaults on our reality. First came the tsunami, the most deadly such event ever recorded, in which more than 200,000 people perished in 13 different countries that were 1,000 or more miles apart. Then a ghastly famine sneaked up on Niger while the world was looking the other way. Next, ferocious hurricanes whipped the south coast of the United States, devastating one of the major cities of the globe's most powerful nation. Finally came an earthquake of such terrible violence that it ripped open the Himalayas with a force comparable to the two biggest quakes of the 20th century, killing 80,000 people and leaving an unimaginable 3 million people homeless.
Yet the great concatenation of disasters throughout 2005 did more than instil once again our sense of awe at our human insignificance in the natural order. It taught us something about humanity at its best and worst - and raised some uncomfortable questions about who it is that suffers in such circumstances, and why. For we discovered that "Acts of God", as the insurance world still puts it, are matched - and sometimes horribly exceeded - by acts of man in their sheer callousness...