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At least 100 homes damaged by storms near Atlanta

Sep 5, 2011, 6:11 p.m.

ATLANTA (Reuters) - At least 100 homes were damaged by thundershowers and possible tornadoes that raked Atlanta's northern suburbs on Monday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee moved inland, but no serious injuries were reported.

Local fire officials said the turbulent weather struck Cherokee County at about 3 p.m. local time, downing power lines, snapping utility poles, uprooting trees, shattering glass and shearing roofs and siding from buildings.

The damage extended from the city of Woodstock at the south end of the county to the town of Ball Ground at its northern edge.

"It was a pretty long stretch, about 14, maybe 15 miles," said Tim Cavender, spokesman for the Cherokee County Fire Department.

He said at least 100 homes sustained damage in the area, mostly from high winds, and "there may be more."

A fire department lieutenant reached by telephone said that number was "about right."

"It's significant," added Howard Baker, a spokesman for the county sheriff's department. "We've got numerous homes and commercial businesses with varying degrees of damage."

Fallen trees crushed cars and buildings, he added, describing the overall damage as widespread but far from devastating.

"I'm not aware of any homes that were demolished," he said.

One man who sought refuge in his basement was slightly injured by debris that fell on him and was taken to an area hospital "to be checked out," Cavender said.

He and Baker said some damage appeared to have been caused by tornadoes when severe thunderstorms rolled through the area, but it would take another day to confirm any tornado activity.

The county as a whole lies roughly 20 to 40 miles north of Atlanta, the state capital.

The National Weather Service earlier on Monday issued tornado watch advisories in parts of several states, including Georgia, as Tropical Storm Lee continued to lash the Gulf Coast and the Southeast as it weakened after making landfall early on Sunday in southern Louisiana.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Bohan)

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