The severe weather also moved into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, according to the National Weather Service.
It tallied numerous reports of hail and high winds and listed nine possible tornadoes -- seven in Georgia, one in Indiana and one in South Carolina.
The agency's Storm Prediction Center said several reports included word of damaged houses, flying roofs and downed trees.
As of early Thursday morning, there were no more tornado warnings -- which indicate tornadoes are imminent.
But a tornado watch for southern Georgia stretching into Florida including Jacksonville and Orlando, remains in effect until Thursday 8 a.m. A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for severe weather.
A resident of the Atlanta suburb of Lilburn told CNN affiliate WSB-TV that the top of a tree fell on his house after being slammed by lightning.
"Giant explosion on that pine tree out there. We thought it was a transformer," Ray Weissinger said. A smoking section of tree went through his roof, prompting fears the home would catch fire. Weissinger got his wife and 90-year-old mother-in-law out.
"Everybody's fine," he said. Weissinger did get some disappointing news when the water restoration company he hired called him back and said they couldn't come until a tornado watch expired.
A tornado emergency had been issued for Webster and Sumter counties in Georgia. In Sumter County, a suspected tornado up to a mile and a half wide was spotted, county emergency management director Nigel Poole told CNN.
"There have been reports of damage, but we have not been able to access them yet," he said Wednesday afternoon.
Metro Atlanta was hit twice by a deluge of rain. Almost 4 inches fell in a 24-hour period, the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City said.
At the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia, the Par 3 Contest was canceled due to the inclement weather
In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop
for flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which was later lifted on Wednesday afternoon. But delays persisted through early Thursday. More than 900 flights to or from one of the world's busiest airports were canceled Wednesday, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.
Hail fell in many parts of Alabama, where Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency
ahead of the weather event.
One user posted on Instagram that hail was approximately one to 1.5 inch. "Pretty crazy! Certainly not the usual weather here!"
There was also quarter-sized hail in Kentucky. Kev Salsman of Elizabethtown recorded video of a steady deluge on his backyard deck.
From Kentucky, Ian Corbin posted a funnel cloud swirling Wednesday night in Owingsville, with tornado sirens blaring in the background.
Flooding was seen throughout Columbia as the fire department there reported receiving over 100 incidents during a four-hour period on Wednesday.