The latest on severe storms moving across the South:

2:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down near Atlanta as heavy storms continued to sweep across large parts of the South.

Meteorologist Keith Stellman says a tornado was spotted on radar about seven miles north of Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damages.

Forecasters said the storm system then moved to the northeast at about 40 mph Wednesday afternoon. A tornado warning was issued for counties in the metro area including Fulton and DeKalb.

A tornado watch also was issued for more than 50 counties in Georgia, including Cobb and Gwinnett near Atlanta. It was to expire at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Five people were killed and more than a dozen were injured as a suspected tornado swept across parts of Alabama and Tennessee early Wednesday.


12:50 p.m.

Authorities say rain is helping contain the wildfires in western North Carolina.

Firefighting officials reported Wednesday that the rains are helping to contain the fires that began in recent weeks in Clay, Graham, McDowell and Macon counties.

A wind advisory is in effect in western areas of the state through Wednesday evening with likely gusts up to 45 mph. Authorities say rain and high humidity should prevent winds from spreading the fires, but trees weakened by fire and rain will be blown onto roadways and trails.

At least four people have died in wildfires around Gatlinburg, Tennessee.


12:35 p.m.

Meteorologists say at least two tornadoes struck Alabama as a severe storm system crossed the state.

Experts spread out Wednesday to survey the damage, seeking to determine whether other twisters touched down during the night.

The National Weather Service office for Birmingham says teams have confirmed that small tornadoes hit Pickens County near Alabama's line with Mississippi — and Winston County to the northeast. There were reports of scattered damage in both places.

The weather service office in Huntsville in northern Alabama has crews assessing damage from at least four possible twisters, including one blamed for three deaths in the northeast Alabama community of Rosalie.


12:25 p.m.

Emergency officials say two people died and more than two dozen others were injured during the severe weather outbreak in Tennessee, a state already reeling from deadly wildfires.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says up to 23 people were injured in McMinn County alone in the hard-hit southeastern portion of the state.

The National Weather Service in Morristown says its crews have confirmed a tornado touched down overnight near Athens in McMinn County. Meteorologist David Hotz said that tornado ranged from an EF-2 with winds up to 130 mph to and EF-3 with winds up to 152 mph and its path on the ground stretched about 5 miles.

The weather service was still surveying damage in other areas including nearby Polk and Marion counties amid reports of several homes and buildings destroyed. Officials said a husband and wife were killed in Polk County.


11:50 p.m.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn says the worst damage in that state appears to be in southeastern Winston County, where six homes were reported destroyed.

But he says the state was largely spared the worst of the storm.

"We had all these tornado warnings, but almost everything was over a rural area," Flynn said.

Despite slight damage, the weather made for a harrowing night for many Mississippians.

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said he pulled off the road six times between Jackson and his home in Nettleton to take shelter.

"I've never driven through something like this in my life," Presley said.

And the rain was welcome, particularly among farmers.

As of last week, more than 70 percent of the state was classified as being in extreme drought. Many farmers had delayed planting winter wheat because there hasn't been enough soil moisture.

More rain is predicted this weekend.


11:45 a.m. — Authorities say rain from a severe storm system raking the South is helping to contain wildfires in South Carolina.

The Pinnacle Mountain Fire Joint Information Center issued a statement Wednesday that more than 60 percent of a wildfire in that northwest corner of south Carolina is now contained. However, the blaze still covers more than 10,500 acres.

No injuries have been reported from the wildfires in South Carolina.

Authorities say firefighting crews are not being sent to South Carolina's lines for a second straight day because of wet roads, slick terrain and soaked ground.

At least four people have died in wildfires in Tennessee, which have destroyed more than 150 buildings there.


10:35 a.m.

Residents around the South have begun cleaning up after a night of powerful storms left five people dead and more than a dozen injured. But heavy rains continued in some areas long under a deep drought.

Tennessee authorities say a husband and wife died when a possible tornado struck their home in Polk County. Across the state line in Alabama, three people were killed when another possible tornado smashed into a mobile home.

The National Weather Service says possible tornados and strong winds downed tree and power lines and damaged home across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

In Winston County, Mississippi, Sheriff Jason Pugh says he and his deputies were helping those with damaged home to find a place to stay.

"Thank goodness everybody is all right down here," Pugh told WCBI TV.


9:45 a.m.

Despite dozens of tornado warnings, Mississippi authorities say, no one was injured in their state during a severe weather outbreak.

The National Weather Service is surveying eight Mississippi counties Wednesday to confirm suspected tornadoes. The forecast office in the Mississippi capital of Jackson issued 26 tornado warnings a;pmg Tuesday, and some damage was reported in more than a dozen counties.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn says the worst damage appears to be in southeastern Winston County, where six homes were reported destroyed.

Overall, Flynn says Mississippi was spared.

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley says he came upon a UPS truck blown onto its side into Monroe County, hitting a pickup truck. Presley described the UPS driver as "lucky."


9:05 a.m.

A powerful storm that's being blamed for three deaths in northeast Alabama left a chaotic scene of destruction.

Shirley Knight, whose family owns a small propane business near where the possible tornado touched down in Rosalie, said the storm crashed in on them in the middle of the night, pounding homes and businesses.

Daybreak revealed mangled sheets of tin, insulation and a ladder hanging in trees.

"There's a lot of damage around everywhere," Knight said. "It's like a war zone. We had a plaza, a service station and several buildings connected together, and it's all gone."

A church was destroyed, she said, and several buildings were damaged at a Christmas tree farm.

"There's no power or anything up there. The power company is out working, the phone company is out," said Knight, who lives a few miles away. "There are rescue squads from everywhere."

Rosalie, an unincorporated area, is about 115 miles northeast of Birmingham.


8:15 a.m.

Storms that spawned deadly winds have dumped more than 2 inches of rain across much of north Alabama, causing floods after months of drought.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for much of north Alabama on Wednesday while storms were still dousing the region with heavy rains.

Police in the northwest Alabama city of Florence put out barriers to block roads that flooded with as much as 2 feet of water when fallen leaves clogged blocked drainage during torrential downpours. The weather service says streams were cresting in western Alabama after as much as 4 inches of rain.

The entire state is locked in a severe drought and some areas haven't had measurable rain for more than two months before the storms moved through.

The state climatologist, John Christy, says more than 1 inch of rain is needed weekly to end the drought.

Five people were killed in Alabama and Tennessee as the line of storms moved across the South, spawning suspected tornadoes.


7:45 a.m.

The death toll from severe storms that moved across the South overnight has risen to five.

An official in Tennessee says two people have been killed and at least nine others injured in severe weather that hit the state overnight.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener says a husband and wife died and two others were injured in Polk County. He said at least seven injuries were reported in nearby McMinn County. He didn't have further details on what happened.

Flener says suspected tornadic activity was reported in six counties, all in the southeastern corner of Tennessee.

Across the state line, three people were killed in northeastern Alabama when a suspected tornado hit a mobile home in Jackson County.


3:15 a.m.

Authorities say three people have been killed as a line of storms and possible tornadoes moved across northern Alabama overnight.

Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen tells The Associated Press the three killed were all in a mobile home in Rosalie in northeast Alabama. Another person in the home was critically injured.

Harnen also said early Wednesday that there have been a number of other injuries and estimated that 16 to 20 structures in Jackson County have been destroyed.

National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Nash says there have been multiple reports of possible tornadoes across several counties in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee.