The National Weather Service that as the strong cold front moved through Southeast Georgia on Thursday night, an EF-0 tornado -- the weakest on the scale -- briefly touched down in Waycross.
The tornado, with 85 mph winds, touched down just after 9 p.m. near the CSX Transportation crossroads and stayed on the ground from about 1,000 feet -- just over the length of three football fields. The width of the path of the tornado was about 50 yards.
Several trees and powerlines were down in Waycross and across Ware County, but there were no reports of structures damaged.
Trees were also down in Blackshear and along Highway 203 in Pierce County.
Elsewhere in Georgia, a tree crashed onto the interstate in Dunwoody, north of Atlanta, crumpling a car but causing no serious injuries, authorities said. Huge trees toppled and snapped in the state’s northwestern Gordon County, smashing a home and blowing roofs off outbuildings.
Students were told to shelter in place while tornado warnings were in effect in the Atlanta suburbs and at the University of Georgia in Athens. Children in the Lawrenceville area huddled in school hallways as the weather moved through.
More than 300,000 homes and businesses were without power across the South, according to poweroutage.us, and the rain was forecast to continue into Friday across part of the region.
Rain and floods from the storm killed at least five people and injured several more across a dozen states.
The National Weather Service said early Friday the system was expected to strengthen as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard, bringing high winds and rain through the mid-Atlantic region. Gusts up to 55 mph were predicted for the nation’s capital. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from flooding in places across the Southeast, and many school districts have canceled classes.