The 2027 Gainesville tornado was a violent, long-track tornado that struck Gainesville, Georgia, in the evening on March 21st, 2027.
Earlier that day, several tornadoes took place across Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. A high risk was issued by the SPC earlier in the day. The strongest tornado that day prior to this was an EF4 in Seymour, TN. At 4:13 pm, the National Weather Service issued a PDS tornado watch for western Georgia and extreme eastern Alabama. Supercells started moving into the area around 5:00 pm, producing relatively minor tornadoes and large hail, the largest tornado being an EF2 that moved through Pine Mountain, a town about 55 miles to the south of Gainesville. At around 5:45 pm, the National Weather Service in Atlanta started tracking a storm with strong rotation, that was moving to the north of Duluth. At 6:01 pm, a tornado warning was issued for Coweta County, stating that a tornado was most likely about to touch down. At 6:07 pm, a small tornado touched down in Oakwood, causing EF0 and EF1 damage. The town was ultimately spared, as the tornado rapidly intensified to the northeast of the town. The tornado's winds were recorded at 250 mph as it struck Westside, shown in the picture above. About half of the town was flattened, as it continued northeast. The tornado strengthened more, reaching 265 mph as it approached Gainesville, growing to 3/4 mile wide, making it now a wedge tornado. The tornado crossed a channel on Lake Lanier, slightly weakening it to a 210 mph tornado, still an EF5. The tornado then barreled through Gainesville, demolishing almost everything in it's path. The tornado also started a fire in a neighborhood when a gas pipe burst, and all the destruction was burned away. 14 people died when a Staples was destroyed. A shopping center was destroyed, with a mangled oven from a Carrabba's Italian Grill found a mile away. The tornado continued to cause low-end EF4 damage northeast of the town, eventually weakening and dissipating southwest of Turnerville.
Aftermath and impact
A state of emergency was declared by the White House on March 22, 2027. Search and rescue operations began for people who had gone missing that night, and couldn't be found in the rubble. Out of the 53 people missing, only 26 were found. The rest were declared likely dead and added to the death toll, after days of searching. One of the indirect deaths was a 78-year-old man, who had a heart condition, who died after suffering a heart attack from a panic attack when he saw the tornado through his front window. National Weather Service damage assessments confirmed EF5 damage from 1.5 miles southwest of Westside to 1/4 mile northeast of Gainesville. FEMA opened shelters in Atlanta with food and water as well as a place to sleep. The amount of money required to repair the damage was estimated to be $1 billion, but was reassessed and found to be $932 million, the costliest tornado in Georgia history. The repair was completed on April 29, 2028, a year, one month, and 8 days after the tornado struck.