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Severe weather ushered in year as calendars turned to 2022

By Jessica Storm, Accuweather.com

Gusty winds, half-dollar-sized hail, record-breaking rainfall and damaging tornadoes impacted the South and the Ohio Valley as calendars turned to 2022.

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There were three tornado reports across northern Georgia on New Year's Eve, near Worthville, Magnet and Villa Rica. The National Weather Service of Atlanta began a survey on Friday, determining that a tornado did strike Newton County, Ga.

This tornado had caused structural damage to a middle school, and a tree fell on a home. The Newton County Fire Department reported that several people were injured by the storm. This EF-1 tornado caused six minor injuries.

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Fortunately for some, any New Year's Eve tornadoes avoided the areas that were hit hard earlier in the month with devastating destruction from severe storms, but there were some reports of half-dollar-sized hail in Kentucky. Gusty winds in Alabama blew the roofs off chicken coops and brought down both tree branches and power lines on Friday.

The storms didn't stop in 2021 either, as storms with gusty winds tore through the Tennessee Valley on the first day of 2022 as well.

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Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued a state of emergency ahead of the storms, likely in part due to the recent damage done by two long-track tornadoes across Kentucky. Many residents are still recovering from this previous severe weather event, making Saturday's threat particularly dangerous.

The NWS also issued a tornado watch for much of Tennessee and Kentucky. By Saturday afternoon, several tornado warnings were issued for southern Kentucky ahead of the severe storms coming through the state.

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A confirmed tornado was located west of Elkton, Tenn., on Saturday evening. Another tornado may have touched down near Hopkinsville and Olmstead, Ky., damaging a grain silo, a golf course and several other buildings in downtown areas. On Sunday, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado hit Madison County, KY on Saturday with estimated winds of 90 mph. An EF-0 Tornado was also confirmed to have hit the south side of Bowling Green with max wind speed of 85 mph.

A possible tornado was heading toward Stevenson, Ala., around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Gusty winds also incurred damage across parts of Kentucky, near Saint Mary, for example, where winds damaged the roof of a horse barn, and structural damage occurred at an industrial facility in Lebanon. In Bowling Green, Kentucky, winds snapped mature pine trees and damaged apartment buildings.

Strong-to-severe storms could be seen on the national radar on Sunday morning traveling eastward.

Other states that gusty winds impacted on the first of the year include Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Record rainfall also fell across the region on Saturday, shattering rain records, particularly in Kentucky. Lexington, Ky., reported 2.27 inches of rain, breaking the old Jan. 1 record of 1.44, set in 1966.

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Bowling Green also set a new record with 2.59 inches of rain on Saturday, which breaks the previous 1966 record of 2.45 inches. Other cities that smashed rainfall records include Zanesville, Ohio, and Cape Girardeau, Mo., both reporting over an inch of rain on New Year's Day.

Severe and wet weather are not yet over across the Southeast, either, as storms traverse eastward. Forecasters expect more gusty winds, flooding downpours and tornadoes from the Florida Panhandle to the Carolinas on Sunday after temperatures reached record levels.

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