By HOLBROOK MOHR
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) â¿¿ Severe thunderstorms Monday raked across a wide area of the South, packing strong winds, rain and some baseball-size hail.
In Mississippi, authorities reported two people were hit on the head by large hail as the enormous storm front crossed the region. Fire official Tim Shanks said baseball-sized hail smashed windows in several vehicles in Clinton, where the two people were hit. He had no immediate word on their condition.
National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Weber said there were reports of hail the size of softballs in some areas around Jackson."This is the time of year that we get hail storms, but hail this size is pretty rare," Weber said. Emergency officials said there were reports of downed trees or other damage in 14 Mississippi counties. Roads throughout the Jackson area were littered with broken limbs and pine needles, from the hail driving through trees. Cars could be seen driving along the interstate with broken windows and cracked windshields. "What I found interesting is that hail is the threat that we don't talk about that much," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeff Rent. "But you can see how destructive it can be in a short amount of time. We got a tough lesson today." Glenn Ezell and his son were putting tarps on the metal roof of their mobile home in Brandon after the storm swept through the area. "It started hailing big enough that it come through the roof and broke the sheetrock. It was as big as your fist," he said. Meteorologists issued tornado warnings for parts of northwest Georgia and severe thunderstorm warnings around the state. Flights were delayed by more than an hour Monday afternoon at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after officials there ordered a ground stop, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.