Severe storms rake Tenn., Ky., Ark. |

Severe storms rake Tenn., Ky., Ark.

Lightning strikes south of Tyler, Texas, as a thunder storm passes over east Texas, early Tuesday, April 4, 2007. A birdhouse hangs from an eave in the foreground. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Violent thunderstorms battered a three-state region with hail as big as softballs and wind that damaged several homes and caused power outages.

The storms that hit Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee marked the leading edge of a mass of cold air that dropped temperatures Wednesday morning into the 20s in the central Plains and upper Midwest.

No tornadoes were confirmed during the storms Tuesday night, but strong wind heavily damaged three homes in Tennessee’s Cumberland County, authorities said.

The storm damaged the roof of the emergency entrance at the Appalachian Regional Hospital in Harlan, Ky. Emergency room services were temporarily moved to another area of the hospital while repairs were made and no one was injured, hospital CEO David Brash said Wednesday.

More than 42,000 homes and businesses lost power during the storms in Kentucky, utilities said. In Tennessee, the Knoxville Utilities Board said more than 6,000 were blacked out during the storm.

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Wind gusted to 68 mph at Frankfort, Ky., and hail the size of softball hammered Kentucky’s Hart County, the National Weather Service said.

“One (police) cruiser was pelted with golf ball-size hail for probably 20 minutes,” said Kentucky State Police dispatcher Della Shaw.

High straight-line wind or a possible tornado damaged a business and several parked vehicles in Jonesboro, Ark.

“My truck was just totaled,” Mark Burrough told Jonesboro television station KAIT-TV. “We have two or three trailers tipped over.”

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