STRONG STORMS ARE HEADING TOWARDS CENTRAL GEORGIA... AND EXPECTED TO GET HERE IN JUST A FEW HOURS.
CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES HAS BEEN WATCHING THE FORECAST ALL EVENING... HE'S JOINING US FROM THE WEATHER CENTER WITH THE LATEST.
the national weather service has issued a tornado watch for crawford, monroe putnam and taylor counties until 2 a.m.
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
THE SYSTEM OF STORMS HAS ALREADY KILLED DOZENS OF PEOPLE IN SEVERAL STATES INCLUDING MISSISSIPPI... ALABAMA AND NORTHWEST GEORGIA.
RESCUE CREWS ARE TRYING TO FREE PEOPLE TRAPPED BY THE STORMS IN THE RINGGOLD AREA IN NORTH GEORGIA.
MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE WERE INJURED IN DADE... FLOYD AND WALKER COUNTIES IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA.
A PRODUCTION TEAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA CAPTURED THIS VIDEO AS A TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY'S CAMPUS IN TUSCALOOSA.
AS THE TORNADO RAGED THROUGH ITS PATH OF DESTRUCTION, AIRBORNE DEBRIS CAN CLEARLY BE SEEN SPINNING AROUND THE TORNADO AS WELL AS SEVERAL LIGHTNING STRIKES.
THE STORM LEFT WIDESPREAD DAMAGE IN TUSCALOOSA TONIGHT.
IT COVERED A WIDE AREA... SPLINTERING NEARLY EVERYTHING IN ITS PATH.
IT STAYED ON THE GROUND AS IT MOVED INTO THE BIRMINGHAM AREA.
IN NORTHERN ALABAMA... HOMES AND BUILDINGS WERE FLATTENED BY THE STORM AS IT MOVED THROUGH.
EMERGENCY OFFICIALS IN MADISON COUNTY ALABAMA ARE STILL ASSESING THE DAMAGE.
AN EMERGENCY OFFICIAL SAYS 40 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN ALABAMA... BRINGING THE REGIONAL DEATH TOLL TO 54.
THAT INCLUDES EIGHT PEOPLE IN MISSISSIPPI... ONE EACH IN ARKANSAS AND TENNESSEE... AND TWO IN DADE COUNTY GEORGIA.
THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS YOU CAN STAY UPDATED ON SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS.
YOU CAN KEEP TUNED TO 13WMAZ OR 13 WMAZ DOT COM FOR THE LATEST WATCHES AND WARNINGS..
YOU CAN LISTEN OUT FOR TORNADO WARNING SIRENS WHICH INDICATE A TORNADO IS IN YOUR AREA..
.....AND YOU CAN BUY A WEATHER RADIO WHICH MONROE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR MATTHEW PERRY SAYS IS ESPECIALLY HELPFUL WHEN STORMS HIT OVERNIGHT.
Mathew Perry, Monroe County Director of Emergency Management
"We urge people to have a weather radio in their home. What's made this season different than others is that these storms are coming through and they're strong, but they're coming through at night which makes it difficult for us to alert people because they're dead asleep."
YOU CAN PICK UP A WEATHER RADIO FOR ABOUT 30 DOLLARS..
MOST ARE PROGRAMMABLE SO YOU CAN RECEIVE ALERTS FOR CERTAIN COUNTIES..
MACON POLICE SAY A STORE OWNER IS IN THE HOSPITAL TONIGHT AFTER BEING SHOT DURING A ROBBERY.
EL CARNIVAL OWNER JORGE VILLAREAL WAS SHOT TWICE THIS EVENING.
AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN FOUND... WORKERS SAY THIS WASN'T THE FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE AT THE STORE.
"I think he was worried about the future of his store.. that's why he had so much security here."
BUT THE BARRED WINDOWS... AND SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS... WEREN'T ENOUGH TO PROTECT EL CARNAVAL OWNER JORJE VILLAREAL WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.
MACON POLICE SAY AROUND FIVE P.M .... A MAN CAME INTO THE STORE... ROBBED VILLAREAL AND SHOT HIM TWICE.
POLICE TOOK TWENTY-TWO YEAR OLD DARREN FARROW IN CUSTODY IN CONNECTION WITH THE CRIME.
NEWS OF THE SHOOTING BROUGHT MOISES velez TO HIS FRIEND'S STORE... HE SAYS THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM... BRINGING JOBS... AND HARD WORK TO THIS SHOPPING CENTER OFF ROCKY CREEK RD.
"He's giving and giving and giving. It's a surprise to see somebody come and take from him what he work so hard for."
WITNESSES SAY WEDNESDAY'S ROBBERY WASN'T THE FIRST.
"I spoke with an El Carnaval employee who would only identify herself as Jean. She says this is actually the second time in two months that armed robbers have attempted to rob the store. She says both times they took the same escape route.. running down this sidewalk through the woods and into the neighborhood behind."
KEYUNA JACKSON LIVES IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD.
"I opened the back door and there was a man running through the backyard screaming."
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SHE SAYS SHE SAW A MAN DUMP A GUN AND STRIP OFF SOME OF HIS CLOTHES IN HER BACK YARD BEFORE TAKING OFF.
"It was just chaos."
POLICE SAY THEY FOUND THE GUN AND CLOTHING... AND FARROW IN THE YARD SHORTLY AFTER.
STD MACON POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS FARROW WAS TAKEN TO THE DETECTIVE'S BUREAU FOR QUESTIONING.
VILLAREAL WAS TAKEN THE MEDICAL CENTER.
THERE'S NO WORD ON HIS CONDITION.
YET ANOTHER CHAPTER WRITTEN TODAY IN THE PRESIDENT OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE SAGA..
THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY RELEASED THE LONG FORM CERTIFICATE SHOWING THE PRESIDENT THE PRESIDENT RELEASED A SHORT VERSION OF HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE DURING THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
BUT THAT WASN'T ENOUGH FOR THE SO-CALLED BIRTHER MOVEMENT... WHICH CLAIMS THE PRESIDENT WAS NOT BORN IN THE U-S...AND ISN'T ELIGIBLE TO HOLD OFFICE.
THE PRESIDENT ALSO SAID ITS TIME TO GET PAST THIS CONTROVERSY AND MOVE ONTO MORE PRESSING PROBLEMS FACING THE COUNTRY..WAS BORN IN HONOLULU AND ALSO SHOWING WHO HIS PARENTS WERE..
TODAY'S LONG-FORM DOCUMENT'S RELEASE HAS CENTRAL GEORGIANS TALKING... SOME WONDER WHY IT'S A CONCERN... OTHERS SAY THE NEWLY RELEASED CERTIFICATE DOESN'T PROVE ANYTHING.
Michael Street, Perry "That's like I can tell you it's raining... but it's not raining."
Tim Dickerson, Macon "He could have come up with that anywhere. he's the president. He's got a lot of pull now."
Curtis Rozier, Macon "There is a whole lot more things to worry about than a birth certificate. The economy still isn't going great, people still can't find jobs the unemployment rate is still high."
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
DOES TODAY'S RELEASE OF HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE CONVINCE YOU THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS BORN IN THIS COUNTRY?
SO FAR... 66 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
WHILE 34 PERCENT SAY YES.. IT DOES CONVINCE YOU.
YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION IN THE DON'T MISS BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER JOHN WILLIAMS WANTS TO REWRITE A LAW ALREADY ON THE BOOKS ABOUT WEARING SAGGY PANTS IN WARNER ROBINS.
HE SAYS RIGHT NOW... IT'S TOO TECHNICAL FOR POLICE TO ENFORCE.
WILLIAMS SAYS COUNCIL PASSED "THE INDECENT EXPOSURE" LAW TWO YEARS AGO... BUT POLICE HAVE YET TO HAND OUT A TICKET.
THE LAW SAYS ITS ILLEGAL FOR PEOPLE TO EXPOSE THEIR BODY OR UNDERGARMENTS... MORE THAN THREE INCHES BELOW THE WAISTLINE.
WILLIAMS SAYS UNLESS POLICE CARRY RULERS... THAT MAY NOT STAND UP IN COURT.
John Williams, Warner Robins City Council: (963/2:30) "We all live in a society where it's not acceptable. When I was a kid, I was ashamed to have britches that didn't have a belt. If I had to roll 'em up, too long, it's just something I grew up with. I think you ought to have the same standards today."
THE CURRENT LAW SAYS EACH VIOLATION CARRIES A 500 DOLLAR FINE OR SIX MONTHS IN JAIL.
WILLIAMS SAYS HE WANTS TO LOWER THE PENALTY TO 25 DOLLARS OR COMMUNITY SERVICE.
THAT'S AFTER CONCERNS FROM THE LOCAL NAACP THAT THE FINES COULD UNFAIRLY PUNISH PARENTS... FORCING THEM TO PAY FOR THEIR CHILDREN'S MISTAKES.
THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER TO FIND IF YOUR CHILD GETS A SPOT IN NEXT YEAR'S FREE GEORGIA PRE-K PROGRAM IN BIBB COUNTY..
MOM KATIE PELT SAYS SHE REGISTERED HER 3 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER EMMA FOR BIBB'S PROGRAM.
SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAY THEY WAITED FOR THE STATE TO SET ITS BUDGET BEFORE HOLDING ITS PRE-K LOTTERY .
THEY SAY THEY'VE RECEIVED MORE THAN A THOUSAND APPLICATIONS FOR ABOUT 700 SPOTS.
PELT SAYS THAT MAKES IT TOUGH FOR PARENTS:
Katie Pelt, Bibb County: "You're not sure if they're gonna get in there and then if they don't, you know, what you're gonna do cause time's running out to get into any pre-k programs around."
THE STATE CUT PRE-K PROGRAMS AT BARDEN AND WILLIAMS ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.
BIBB COUNTY PLANS TO HOLD ITS PRE-K LOTTERY TOMORROW... AND NOTIFY PARENTS NEXT WEEK.
TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY.... JOSEPH WILLIAMS.
CONGRATULATIONS... YOU'LL GET A 13WMAZ DOT COM COFFEE MUG.
IF YOU WANT TO BE OUR FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY... IT'S EASY.
VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ AND CLICK THE "LIKE" BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN.
THEN... JUST JOIN THE CONVERSATIONS.
WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSTON COUNTY FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY ARE BUSY SETTING UP FOR THE SEVENTH ANNUAL OLD BOOK SALE AT THE PERRY FAIRGROUNDS.
THE SALE STARTS TOMORROW AND GOES UNTIL SATURDAY AT THREE.
ADMISSION IS FIVE DOLLARS ON OPENING DAY AND FREE FOR THE REST OF THE SALE
THEIR MISSION... TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE LIBRARIES IN HOUSTON COUNTY.
LAST YEAR THEY RAISED CLOSE TO FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS AND THIS YEAR THEY HOPE TO RAISE MORE.
THE BOOKS ARE PRICED ANY WHERE FROM FIFTY CENTS TO THREE DOLLARS.
IN PAST YEARS..... THE SALE DIDN'T START UNTIL FOUR ON OPENING DAY.
PRESIDENT GEORGETTE LIPFORD SAYS THEY'RE STARTING EARLIER THIS YEAR.
Georgette Lipford, President of the Houston County Friends of the Library "But this year we decided to just grow up, jump in with both feet, set it up on Wednesday, open at ten on Thursday. So that the people that pay five dollars to get in have much longer to shop"
ALL THE BOOKS ARE HALF PRICE ON SATURDAY BUT LIPFORD SAYS THE BEST CHANCE OF FINDING THE BOOKS ON YOUR LIST IS TO COME OUT ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE SALE.
FOR THE TIMES OF THE SALE CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM