Georgia Thunderstorms Kill 1, Injure at Least 16

One person was killed and at least 16 were injured when fierce thunderstorms swept Georgia and Alabama with tornadoes, hail and lightning, downing trees and power lines, authorities said Thursday.

At least three tornadoes touched down in central Georgia, according to National Weather Service teams who rolled out after daylight to determine if twisters had hit based on the damage from the overnight storm.

Kent McMullen, a meteorologist with the weather service in Peachtree City, said one confirmed tornado cut a 7-mile swath through rural Jasper County with winds of up to 100 mph.

At least 10 people were injured and as many as 100 structures were damaged in Jasper County, emergency managers said.

Two other twisters touched down in Taylor County and at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, south of Macon, McMullen said.

McMullen said a man died in the Hancock County town of Sparta, about 88 miles southeast of Atlanta. Authorities have not released the victim's name and no other details were immediately available from local officials.

In Alabama, an apparent tornado uprooted trees in Geneva near the Florida line. No injuries were reported.

A spokesman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said besides the fatality, three others were injured in Hancock County.

Another 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.

The storms also damaged at least two schools in Fayette County south of Atlanta.

Georgia Power Co. reported more than 4,000 customers lost electricity at the height of the storms Wednesday night, with all but about 60 restored by midmorning Thursday.

Meanwhile, Georgia's Electric Membership Corporations restored power to nearly 9,400 customers who lost it Wednesday night. Crews worked Thursday morning to reconnect a couple of hundred customers in Jasper and Spalding counties after about 30 utility poles were broken in the storm.

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