Reported twister rips through Oconee Springs Park

One of Oconee Springs Park's four rental cabins rests partially submerged in Lake Sinclair after what many believe to be a tornado tore through the county-owned park Saturday afternoon. A second cabin next to it was also torn off its foundation and declared totaled. Both were unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported. By Monday, county clean-up crews using heavy equipment had already cleared the site of building debris. (Contributed photo.)

By Don Richeson / Staff

OCONEE SPRINGS -- What many believe to have been a tornado ripped through Oconee Springs Park in Putnam County Saturday, tossing one of its rental cabins into Lake Sinclair and tearing the roof off its main picnic pavilion. It also totaled two guests' travel travelers there and destroyed its playground and several trailer decks. None of the heavily damaged structures were occupied at the time of the 1:30 p.m. reported twister, according to Park Manager Lonnie Campbell. No injuries were reported from Saturday's damage, according to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who is also the county's Emergency Management director.

County Manager Paul Haute said Monday it was too early to release a dollar figure on the cost of the damage at Oconee Springs Park, which is owned by the county.

No one has yet officially confirmed seeing a funnel cloud in Putnam County Saturday, though there are several second-hand, unconfirmed reports and several other Middle Georgia counties did have confirmed tornadoes Saturday. The damage followed a straight line track from the park's beach on Lake Sinclair, through the pavilion, the lakeside guest cabins and on through trailers situated near the water on the park's east side, which was without power Saturday night. The west side of the park and its office was apparently not hit.

Power has now been restored to all the park except to the two of the four remaining cabins. Its public boat launching area, which had been blocked by downed trees, is again open, but a county crew clearing the debris was still working in the area Monday.

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Messenger's Jan. 26 print edition for a big package on Saturday's damage in Putnam County.

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