A woman and two small children were killed when a large oak tree fell on their sport utility vehicle during a severe thunderstorm (search), authorities said.

The father, who was driving the vehicle, was not injured in Thursday's accident, Deputy Fire Chief Gerald Rioux III (searchsaid.

"He is distraught beyond words," fire department spokesman Jolene Butts-Freeman said. "He lost his entire family."

The tree was uprooted as rain and high winds pelted rush-hour traffic in Atlanta (search). The victims were identified as Lisa Cunard, 37, and her sons Max, 3 years, and Owen, 6 months.

Firefighters worked in silence sawing through the thick limbs and base of the tree to retrieve the victims. Power to the area, a district of popular bars and restaurants, was cut off. Residents and employees of area businesses stood somberly behind yellow police tape.

"The family did everything right," Butts-Freeman said. "The mom was in the back seat with the kids, which is normally the safe thing to do when traveling."