ATLANTA – Fast-moving spring storms packing high winds, hail and plenty of lightning blew through much of the South on Monday, killing one man, uprooting trees and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands including in metro Atlanta.
More than 125,000 people were without power early Tuesday around the Georgia capital and 147,000 statewide, according to a tweet by Georgia Power.
Earlier, the same line of storms brought pounding rain, hail, wind and at least one possible tornado to Kentucky and Tennessee.
An 87-year-old man found dead in his home in Memphis was electrocuted by a downed power line, fire officials said. Twenty-eight counties in west and middle Tennessee reported some kinds of damage.
Strong winds ripped away part of the roof of an elementary school gymnasium in Ashland City, Tenn., but officials said no children were injured.
In western Kentucky, seven people working at a plant suffered minor injuries when a possible tornado hit.
Christian County Emergency Management Director Randy Graham said about three dozen people who usually work in the area of the Toyoda Gosei Automotive Sealing Kentucky that was struck by the storm were at the other end of the building for their lunch break when it hit.
"We're fortunate not to have any serious injuries or death," he said. The county is seeking a disaster declaration based on the damage at the plant. He said about 120 to 130 people were there when a front wall partially collapsed and a side wall and roof torn out.
Power was out all over the South. At some point, more than 74,000 customers had no electric in the Nashville area and 60,000 in Memphis.
Winds gusting to about 50 mph blew down trees and power lines across north Alabama before heading to Georgia. The cold front was supposed to send temperatures dipping back into the 30s after being in the 80s.
The National Weather Service recorded wind gusts up to 49 mph at the Huntsville, Ala., airport.
In DeKalb County east of Atlanta, meteorologists report 1-inch hail in DeKalb County and storms have packed high winds of 30 to 50 mph in some places. Hundreds of lightning strikes have been reported but no confirmed tornadoes in Georgia.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that emergency workers around Ellijay were rescuing people trapped by downed trees.
Graham said several barns and other buildings were also destroyed or lost their roofs, he said.
The same front also brought violent weather to western North Carolina, doing some damage.