ATLANTA - Severe thunderstorms across north Georgia brought lightning, thunder, heavy rain and hail to many counties.
Some neighbors in Gordon County spent Wednesday in the dark after the storms brought hail and high winds, knocking out power.
The weather woke William Groover up from his nap.
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"The noise at that moment was just incredible. I've never heard that impact against the side of the house before," Groover said.
A powerful hail storm pounded down on his Calhoun home early Wednesday evening.
"When I got to the window it was just like white. It was coming down. And I could see that they were just getting bigger and bigger," Groover told Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon.
Groover showed Wilfon the hail that he kept as souvenirs in his freezer.
"These things are like rock hard," Groover said.
While he says the hail didn't damage his property, the high winds did, ripping paneling and part of the roof off his family's barn.
"Yeah it's going to take a little work to fix that up for sure," Groover told Wilfon.
Hours after the storm, his home still sat in the dark while crews less than a mile away worked to fix the power lines the storm brought down, knocking out power to much of the neighborhood.
Gordon County 911 told Wilfon there were several reports of trees and power lines down across the county, making for a long night in the dark for people like Groover.
"You know the internet's down, the power's down, the phones in the house aren't going to work," Groover said.
COOLER TEMPS MOVE IN
As the storm front move through metro Atlanta and north Georgia, it ushered in cooler temperatures across the area.
“Behind the front, drier air starts to settle in,” said Severe Weather Team 2’s Brad Nitz.
By 9 p.m. most of the storms had moved out of the metro, but they left behind temps about 20 degrees cooler than what was ahead of the storms.
Along with the cooler temps will also be strong winds.
Last of the rain moving out and temps have fallen back into the 60s behind the front. Grateful no tornadoes. pic.twitter.com/80Dlh5Xyqc— Glenn Burns (@GlennBurnsWSB) March 2, 2017
Severe Weather Team 2’s Brad Nitz said temperatures will be in the low to mid 40s with a high around 60 for the day.
“Tomorrow and for the next several days, sunny and cooler. We’ll be breezy tomorrow and Friday,” Nitz said.
Several school districts canceled or dismissed classes early ahead of the severe weather Wednesday.
Channel 2's Berndt Petersen was there as Gordon County Schools dismissed students at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday because of the incoming storms.
All students attending Gordon County Schools heading home ahead of bad storms moving in. pic.twitter.com/uYysPBEKu2— Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) March 1, 2017
Parents told Petersen that the early dismissal was the right move.
A convoy of buses pulled out of W.L. Swain Elementary School shortly after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday as parents breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“This morning we were pretty nervous. We were glad they called it," parent Molly Townsend told Petersen.
All 11, Gordon County schools closed hours early, sending all 6,000 students home.
“It was short notice, but we're used to that" said Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, principal of the school.
The tornado threat tipped the scales and district officials decided it was better to be safe than sorry, especially since dangerous storms could have arrived when the buses were on their routes.
“Not out in the buses in the afternoon with the bad weather. So, I think it's a very good idea," Townsend said.
Parents got a couple of hours notice and school officials say no child was left behind.
A day-of decision to dismiss early can cause issues for parents who are already on the job. But Anderson said the idea is still a good one.
“I'll be honest with you. It's OK to do an early dismissal. Anytime we err on the side of caution to make sure our children are safe, we can do this,” Anderson said.
Walker County Schools announced on Facebook that schools would be closed Wednesday.
“Based on the current forecast of a potential severe weather outbreak tomorrow during the hours of 12-8 p.m. we have decided to close schools tomorrow, March 1 to assure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff members. Please be safe!," Walker County Schools posted.
Dade County Schools posted on its website that schools would also be closed Wednesday because of weather.
Gilmer County Schools posted on its website that it was monitoring the impending afternoon weather situation and conferring with emergency authorities: "The safety of our students and staff is always our primary concern, and for that reason, at this time, all afternoon activities for Gilmer County Schools are canceled today. Should the situation change, updates will follow."
Based on the forecast of inclement weather, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) canceled all extracurricular after-school activities on Wednesday. After-school care was provided for students as scheduled.
Georgia High School Association basketball playoff games involving Miller Grove High School and Lithonia High School will occur as scheduled.
In Cherokee County, all middle and high school extracurriculars were canceled. Elementary after-school programs operated as normal.
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