National Weather Service officials confirmed Friday a tornado touched down in Cherokee County during severe thunderstorms Thursday evening. The NWS confirmed nine people were injured in the twister. There were no fatalities.
The EF-1 twister -- that's the second-lowest on the Enhanced Fujita scale -- traveled 8.5 miles through the Canton area, mostly uprooting and snapping trees with peak winds of 105 miles per hour. The tornado peeled back a portion of the roof over a Chevron gas station in the city and knocked over a gas pump. The weather service also indicated the tornado caused injuries in the area, but no details were immediately available.
The weather service was still surveying other counties early Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Georgia Power officials say crews were still working to restore power to about 44,000 customers Friday afternoon. Most of those customers are in metro Atlanta.
The storm had initially left more than 160,000 customers in the dark statewide.
Many of the metro Atlanta power outages are in northern suburbs that were hart-hit by the storms. Georgia Electric Membership Corp. said 3,600 of its customers were also without power in the metro area as of 6 a.m.
Kennesaw State University, northwest of Atlanta, cancelled all classes Friday due to power outages. Georgia Perimeter College also cancelled Friday classes at its Dunwoody campus. Oglethorpe College cancelled classes as well. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the Sandy Springs municipal courts closed Friday because of power outages.
The storms dumped heavy rain and lit up the night sky with lightning Thursday evening and some scattered storms lingered into the early hours Friday.
National Weather Service forecasters said falling trees left two people with non-life threatening injuries in Canton. The agency planned to send officials to Cherokee County Friday to determine if a tornado touched down there.
Meteorologists had been warning of a threat of damaging winds, large hail and heavy rain Thursday as a cold front marched across the state after days with temperatures in the 90s. The storms were part of a vast frontal system that sprang out of the Midwest and pummeled several Mid-Atlantic and Southern states on Thursday.
Georgia Power customers can call 888-891-0938 for an estimate on when their power will be restored.