updated 1/2/2006 11:31:10 PM ET 2006-01-03T04:31:10

Unseasonably warm weather brought severe storms to parts of the Ohio Valley and the South on Monday, spawning tornadoes, dropping hail and contributing to the death of a utility worker in Indiana.

Tornadoes were reported in Georgia and Kentucky. Three people were hospitalized with minor injuries in Georgia’s Pike County, about 50 miles south of Atlanta.

In suburban Atlanta, at least seven houses were damaged or destroyed near Tyrone by what residents said was a tornado. Near Palmetto, a tornado damaged about four houses, police said.

At least two tornadoes were reported in Kentucky, in Hardin and Lincoln counties. They leveled a food store, damaged several homes and toppled trees and power lines. No injuries were reported in either county, authorities said.

In Indiana, the storm caused scattered power failures. A utility worker died when a piece of equipment overturned on him as his crew worked about 20 miles east of Evansville.

Across the region, temperatures were more like April than January. It hit 69 degrees in Evansville, Ind., and 74 in Bowling Green, Ky. Temperatures in Georgia were in the 60s and 70s.

That warmth had much to do with the unsettled weather, said Joe Skowronek, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“When it gets real warm like this, up in the 60s, that’s a lot of fuel for the fire so to speak for thunderstorms,” he said. “When the ingredients come together for thunderstorms, it doesn’t really matter what time of year it is.”

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