Just before lunchtime Wednesday, The Weather Channel's severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes watched a classic tornadic radar signature slice through Adairsville, Georgia.
"Sometimes you see the strong signatures on radar and it doesn't quite work its way to the ground." Dr. Forbes said.
Dr. Greg Forbes
The EF-3 twisted wood and metal beams that were supporting the Dakai building.
But that wasn't the case in Adairsville.
Less than twenty-four hours later, Forbes joined National Weather Service investigators in the small community 60 miles north of Atlanta to get a close-up view of the destruction.
The group looked at the damaged Dakai plant, where 100 employees were working when the tornado hit.
"The damage to the plant was staggering," Forbes said, adding he's amazed no one inside was killed.
His personal photos (below) show six-inch wide chunks of the building littering the ground like massive snowballs.
"The roof apparently disintegrated into thousands of pieces," which the tornado spread for a mile along its path, Forbes said.
Forbes and the NWS investigators surveyed other buildings that were badly damaged - or outright destroyed - during the storm, including a home, a grocery store, and a storage building.
Based on the damage, the NWS team assigned the tornado an EF-3 rating, determining the highest winds hit 160 mph.
Forbes notes Georgia doesn't see many tornadoes in January, let alone tornadoes with such a strong rating.
"Georgia had 92 tornadoes in January from 1950 to 2011," the tornado expert said. "Wednesday's was only the fourth EF-3."
PHOTOS: Dr. Forbes' Personal Photos of "Staggering" Damage
Dr. Forbes calls the damage to the Daiki Corporation 'staggering.' (Image: Dr. Greg Forbes)