Hot and stormy
There's a chance of severe thunderstorms in North Georgia today. Here is the National Weather Service forecast:
Today: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Some storms could be severe, with damaging winds. Partly cloudy, with a high near 91.
Tonight: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2 a.m. Partly cloudy, with a low around 71.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 96. Heat index values as high as 100.
A line of severe thunderstorms rolled through Northeast Georgia overnight, causing minor damage in several counties, officials said Thursday.
Severe weather that rolled through Jackson County early Thursday morning left about 15,000 without power and caused two structure fires, according to emergency services officials.
The storms, which began around 12:30 a.m. and continued through 3 a.m., "caused widespread damage throughout Jackson," including knocking out the power to some 15,000 Jackson EMC customers, according to a news release from Jackson County Emergency Services.
Steve Nichols, emergency services director for Jackson County, said power was restored to all but 64 customers by 9 a.m.
The storms also knocked over 16 trees throughout the county and caused two structure fires, one in Commerce and one in Nicholson. Units from Commerce, Maysville, Harrisburg, and Jackson County Correctional Institute fire departments responded at 1:05 a.m. to an old chicken house on fire at 1015-B Wilson Road in Commerce. Firefighters contained the fire and no injuries were reported, according to the news release.
The second fire occurred at 229 Birch St. in Nicholson at about 1:12 a.m. Units from the Nicholson Fire Department arrived on the scene and found a barn on fire, which was also said to be caused by a lightning strike. The fire was contained to the barn and put out. There were no injuries reported.
In White County, officials responded to several reports of lightning strikes, including one that set a tree on fire on Pless Road. Another lighting strike caused damage to the yard and home of Assistant Fire Chief Norman Alexander.