ATLANTA - One person was killed and at least 16 were injured when fierce thunderstorms swept Georgia and Alabama with tornadoes, hail and lighting, downing trees and power lines, authorities said today.
The National Weather Service planned to send out teams to check on possible tornado touchdowns after the severe weather front moved through from Wednesday afternoon into the night.
In Alabama, an apparent tornado uprooted trees in Geneva near the Florida line. No injuries were reported.
In Georgia, Kent McMullen, a meteorologist with the weather service in Peachtree City, said the reported death was in the Hancock County town of Sparta, about 70 miles west of Augusta. Authorities have not released the person's name.
A spokesman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said three others were injured in Hancock County.
GEMA spokesman Buzz Weiss said 10 people were injured in Thomas County and as many as 100 structures were damaged in Jasper County.
The storms also damaged at least two schools in Fayette County south of Atlanta.
Two people were reported injured in Spalding County and one each in Coweta and Putnam counties. The Coweta County injury was from a lightning strike.
Georgia Power Co. reported that more than 4,000 customers lost power at the height of the storms Wednesday night, with all but about 60 restored by this morning.
Meanwhile, Georgia's Electric Membership Corporations restored power to nearly 9,400 customers who lost it Wednesday night. Crews worked this morning to reconnect a couple of hundred customers in Jasper and Spalding counties after about 30 utility poles were broken in the storm.