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Powerful storms kill 8 in South

By Ryan Sloane, CNN
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Tornado and storms hit southern states
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Damage reported in 70 Georgia counties and 43 Tennessee counties
  • Uprooted tree toppled onto driver in Atlanta
  • 20 Mississippi counties report damage
  • Deaths are reported in three states

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(CNN) -- The severe storms that pummeled much of the South on Monday night left at least eight people dead in three states, officials said Tuesday.

Local authorities reported one death in Mississippi, six in Georgia and one in Tennessee.

Severe winds and pounding rain also toppled trees and power lines, knocking out electricity in some areas.

Mississippi had one fatality when a tree falling into the road hit a 20-year-old man, said Copiah County coroner Ellis Stuart. Damage was reported in 20 counties, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said.

In Georgia, 70 counties reported damage, as did 43 in Tennessee, according to state emergency management agencies.

In Georgia's Butts County, the sheriff's office reported two deaths -- a man and his son -- after a tree fell on their apartment building.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency said one person was killed and two others were hospitalized in the Greston community in Dodge County.

In Atlanta, a tree fell on a car, killing a man in the northwest part of the city, Atlanta police said. A large tree in a private yard was uprooted and fell on a passing motorist, who was driving alone, the Atlanta Police Department said. When emergency vehicles arrived, "it was apparent that that person was deceased," police spokeswoman Kim Jones said.

Dad and son killed in thunderstorm
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There also was one fatality in Colquitt County and one in Irwin County, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said.

The storms knocked out power to 147,000 customers statewide, the Georgia Power Co. said early Tuesday

In Memphis, Tennessee, an 87-year-old man died when he came into contact with a downed power line in his yard, according to power provider Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

The National Weather Service said it received nearly 600 reports of severe winds across the Southeast on Monday, 19 instances of suspected tornado-related damage and 72 reports of hail.

Reports of funnel clouds poured into the weather service's office from Sumner County, Tennessee, CNN affiliate WZTV-TV in Nashville reported.

"It got so bad, I grabbed my son (and) got him in the closet," Chuck Carter told the station. "We always go to the closet when we think there is a tornado in the area."

In southern Kentucky, a line of uprooted trees dotted damaged roads. No injuries were reported, however.

Melvin Pendley wondered how to repair his home, which had its roof blown off.

"The ceilings are collapsed in the bedroom and half the living room," he told CNN affiliate WBKO-TV in Bowling Green. "Half of the inside is still OK right now. With all this rain, we don't know what's going to happen now."

CNN's Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.