In this image taken from video, severe storms sweeping across parts of the U.S. South were blamed for deaths and destruction, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, including the destruction to this downtown Greenville, Miss., building as shown in this video frame grab. The storms are blamed for a number of deaths, as high winds, tornadoes and unrelenting rain battered a large area of the South. (Faith Alford/WABG via AP)
Photo: Faith Alford/AP
Photo: Faith Alford/AP

Thousands without power in Georgia after powerful storm pummels South

Thousands of Georgia residents who lost power during storms Saturday remained without it Sunday morning.

Georgia Power crews worked through the night to restore electricity, with outages concentrated north of a line from Columbus to metro Atlanta and Athens.

The heaviest concentration was in the northwest part of the state, where more than 10,000 remained without power in the morning. Georgia Power estimated full restoration by midnight. Crews were clearing pathways to enable the work, the company said.

The company warned not to touch downed or low-hanging wires, including cable TV wires touching power lines, and said not to pull tree limbs off power lines or enter areas with debris or downed trees, since power lines could be buried in the wreckage.

Saturday’s storm, which blew through metro Atlanta about 5 p.m. and caused a ground stop at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, had wind gusts of more than 60 mph.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in Paulding County on Saturday evening, according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan. 

Monahan, on the scene in Paulding, reported several trees had smashed into homes and toppled into the streets of at least one neighborhood in the county. 

Dozens of counties were under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch was issued for most of North Georgia on Saturday afternoon and into the evening.

The storm unleashed the worst of its fury on nearby states, where at least 10 died. 

Georgia Power urged residents to call 1-888-891-0938 or 911 to report downed power lines.

Staff writers Asia S. Burns and Shaddi Abusaid contributed to this report.

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