Severe storms, large hail pummel parts of South

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2013 at 10:09 pm •  Published: March 18, 2013
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Georgia Power officials said 73,000 customers were without power Monday night, and of that number, 31,000 were in northwest Georgia.

In neighboring Alabama, the storms knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers.

Etowah County officials said a person had to be removed from a house in Rainbow City after a tree fell onto it. Nearly two dozen trees had toppled onto Alabama Highway 77.

"I think most of it was caused by straight line winds, we just won't know really until tomorrow when the National Weather Service comes and does an assessment," said Gadsden-Etowah County EMA director Mike Bryant.

Bryant said eight people in the Gadsden area and five others in the county were hospitalized Monday night, but he did not know the extent of their injuries.

Meteorologists recorded wind speeds of 80 mph in some areas, and DeKalb County EMA director Anthony Clifton said the roof was ripped from a school in Collinsville, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Payne.

In Tennessee, heavy rain helped firefighters contain a wildfire that burned nearly 60 rental cabins in a resort area outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The fire forced up to 200 people who had been staying in cabins in the area to evacuate.

Fire officials had worried earlier that wind-whipped flames might jump a ridgeline and threaten Pigeon Forge, a popular tourism destination that's home to country star Dolly Parton's amusement park, Dollywood.

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Associated Press writer Phillip Lucas contributed to this report from Atlanta.