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Massive storm system in South tosses cars, leaves one fatality in Georgia

A storm system spawned tornadoes, closed I-75 in northern Georgia, and killed two people, one in Georgia and one in Tennessee.

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In this image made from video and released by WSB TV in Atlanta, a tornado moves through the town of Adairsville, Ga. on Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013. A fire chief says a storm that roared across northwest Georgia has left overturned vehicles on Interstate 75 northwest of Atlanta, and crews are responding to reports of people trapped in storm-damaged residential and commercial buildings.

(AP Photo/WSB TV)

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A massive storm system raked the Southeast on Wednesday, spawning tornadoes and dangerous winds that overturned cars on a major Georgia interstate and demolished homes and businesses, killing at least two people.

In northwest Georgia, the storm system tossed vehicles on Interstate 75 onto their roofs. The highway was closed for a time, and another main thoroughfare remained closed until crews could safely remove downed trees and power lines from the road.

WSB-TV in Atlanta aired footage showing an enormous funnel cloud bearing down on Adairsville, about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta, as the storm ripped through the city's downtown area. The system flattened homes and wiped out parts of a large manufacturing plant. Pieces of insulation hung from trees and power poles, while the local bank was missing a big chunk of its roof.

One person was killed and nine were hospitalized for minor injuries, state emergency management officials said. Residents said no traces remained of some roadside produce stands — a common sight on rural Georgia's back roads.

One other death was reported in Tennessee after an uprooted tree fell onto a storage shed where a man had taken shelter.

In Adairsville, the strange mix of debris in one yard showed just how dangerous the storm had been: a bathtub, table, rolls of toilet paper and lumber lay in the grass next to what appears to be a roof. Sheets of metal dangled from a large tree like ornaments.

"The sky was swirling," said Theresa Chitwood, who owns the Adairsville Travel Plaza. She said she went outside to move her car because she thought it was going to hail. Instead, the passing storm decimated a building behind the travel plaza.

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