Severe weather to extend to Atlantic, Gulf coasts later this week

Following deadly and damaging severe weather in the Plains states on Monday and subsequent days of severe weather over the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys into midweek, the threat of severe weather will extend southward and eastward on Wednesday and Thursday, AccuWeather meteorologists warn.

"Wednesday will be another big day in terms of severe weather and risk in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, but some heavy, gusty and locally severe storms are expected to extend as far to the east as the central and southern Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic coast," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

On Wednesday, the storms in the East, away from the main activity in the Midwest, can briefly be severe at the local level in terms of strong wind gusts, hail, sudden lightning strikes and torrential downpours. The storms will extend eastward, like an arm from the intense, main severe weather west of the Appalachians.


More than 125 million people will be at risk for severe weather on Wednesday, factoring in areas in the Midwest, South Central states and Appalachian Mountains.

"In terms of an escalation of risk, Thursday is shaping up to be a big day in terms of severe weather for parts of the East," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

AccuWeather has added a moderate risk of severe weather on Thursday that includes a portion of the mid-Atlantic region from central North Carolina to southeastern Virginia. Richmond, Virginia; and Raleigh, North Carolina; are within this zone also. The major Southern cities of Charlotte, Atlanta and Charleston, South Carolina, are at some risk of severe weather on Thursday.

Some risk of severe weather on Thursday extends along an arched 1,500-mile-long swath from Maryland to central Texas.

While the number of tornadoes produced in the mid-Atlantic on Thursday is likely significantly less than that of Monday on the Plains and Wednesday in the Midwest, some of the region at risk is densely populated. Along with the threat of tornadoes on Thursday, there will be the likelihood of storms packing high wind gusts, hail and brief flooding downpours.

As thunderstorms ramp up from the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic on south, a wedge of cool air will offer protection from severe weather in New England, much of New York, northeastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. This includes the Boston and New York City metro areas. If the southern edge of cool air erodes, then the risk of severe thunderstorms may expand northward into part of the zone on Wednesday and especially Thursday.

A second concentrated pocket of thunderstorms may cluster over northeastern Texas on Thursday. This would include a zone that has experienced torrential rainfall and major flooding in recent days. Any rainfall excess of a couple of inches over a few hours could renew flooding in some locations because of the saturated state of the soil and the fact that small streams and rivers are still running high.

"On Friday, thunderstorms, some severe, will shrink southward and focus in a zone from southern Alabama to southern Georgia and part of far southern South Carolina to northern and central Florida," Buckingham said.

By the end of the week, the main threats will be powerful wind gusts and hail. However, any severe thunderstorm has the potential to produce a brief tornado or waterspout.

A change in the weather pattern - one that favors waves of cooler air and less surging of warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico - will limit the intensity and frequency of severe weather over much of the central and eastern United States by this weekend.

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