A tornado watch remains in effect for most of the viewing area until 10 PM tonight. He says tennis ball-size hail has fallen in several areas in eastern Alabama, including Barbour and Bibb counties and in the city of Anniston. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths there, but emergency crews were still on the scene sorting things out. These storms would contain damaging straight-line wind gusts, a few tornadoes, and isolated cases of large hail.

The weather service said it had received reports of baseball-sized hail in the west Alabama town of Camden, but only small ice pellets fell at the McGraw-Webb Chevrolet Inc.

Alabama's governor declared a state of emergency and schools in SC planned to dismiss classes early Wednesday ahead of severe thunderstorms expected to move across the Southeast, bringing a threat of tornadoes and hail the size of baseballs.

Damaging winds and very large hail will also be possible.

Alabama's governor declared a state of emergency because of the threat, resulting in multiple school closings, and many schools in SC dismissed classes early.

Alabama Power Co. said it was dealing with almost 3,000 electrical outages statewide, a little more than the 2,400 outages reported by Georgia Power.

But, "any time at high tide, if we get excessive rain, that could cause a problem", said Weather Service meteorologist Mike Emlaw.

Some schools in the Upstate are also dismissing early Wednesday due to weather concerns.

"Alabama is no stranger to the impact severe weather can have on communities and the devastation that can occur when the weather takes a turn for the worse", Bentley said in a statement.

From our standpoint, little has changed in that we still expect widespread shower and thunderstorm activity to arrive this afternoon with an increased threat of severe weather during the evening hours and deep into the overnight. The most likely period for severe weather is between 4 and 8 p.m.

In Georgia, the National Weather Service's website says a tornado warning is now in effect until 9 a.m. for Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Fulton and Heard counties.