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Rain, power outages and possibly freezing weather hit on Halloween
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Storms raked across the central United States from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes on Thursday ahead of an arctic blast that forecasters said could bring record cold to the South.

Temperatures were predicted to drop as much as 30 degrees in a few hours, and forecasters said severe storms were possible from Alabama to New England.

Winds were gusting above 30 mph in some areas, and trees were toppled in Tennessee and the western Carolinas. About 65,000 homes and businesses were in the dark because of power outages in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

As of 5:40 p.m., Jackson EMC reported power had been restored to all but 59 customers in Gwinnett County, and there were no more outages in Hall.

Freeze warnings reached across more than a dozen states, from southwestern Texas into the South and Midwest. A freeze warning is in effect for Hall County from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday.

The storms provided another round of drought relief across the Southeast after weeks of dry weather endangered crops and increased fire risks. But a new federal report showed much of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are still too dry.

Shannon Casas contributed to this article.