A storm crashed through the Southeast and brought up to an inch of rain in parts of drought-stricken Georgia, but forecasters said the storm likely did little to ease the state's historic drought.

"The ground probably sucked it all up," said Vaughn Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. "The ground is so dry, I seriously doubt if any of the lakes rose any."

The Wednesday storm packed lashing rain and powerful gusts, injuring at least nine in Tennessee.

The roof of a Baptist church in Tennessee's Marion County was heavily damaged, said Jeremy Heidt of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Three children were hurt by flying glass and were taken to hospitals, said Heidt.

City Hall across the street from the church suffered minor damage, Heidt said, and an ambulance business next to it had heavy damage. A house also collapsed, but the residents went to the hospital themselves.

"I couldn't get the door open because the outside pressure and wind was so strong," said Justin Lawhorne, manager of Wendy's restaurant in Kimball.

County schools were closed Thursday due to the storm.

More than a quarter of the Southeast is covered by an "exceptional" drought — the National Weather Service's worst drought category. With water levels low, many Georgia residents are under conservation orders — such as a ban on watering lawns.

The rainfall came two days after Gov. Sonny Perdue led a prayer service on the steps of the state Capitol to beg the heavens for an end to the drought.