Damaging Storms Pounding the Southeast, Ohio Valley Today

April 25, 2010; 6:15 AM
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Following the most widespread and destructive tornado outbreak of the season so far on Saturday, damaging storms will threaten more lives and property today along the Southeast Coast and in the Ohio Valley. Isolated tornadoes could strike a few places in the Southeast.

Deadly and destructive tornadoes tore through many cities and towns of the South on Saturday and Saturday night. There was a total of 54 tornado reports across seven different states. In Mississippi, which was hardest hit by tornadoes, many houses were leveled and 10 people were killed by long-tracking tornadoes.

Communities from the Delmarva Peninsula and eastern Virginia southward to the Florida Panhandle will be at risk for severe thunderstorms as a major storm's cold front sweeps toward the Southeast Coast. A second zone at risk will be over the upper Ohio Valley.

Cities that may be threatened by violent thunderstorms today, include: Norfolk, Va., Raleigh, N.C., Wilmington, N.C., Columbia and Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Fla., Pittsburgh, Pa., Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Damaging wind gusts over 60 mph will likely be the biggest threat from the storms. The winds will likely down power lines and trees, littering some neighborhoods. Fallen branches and trees can damage vehicles and houses as well as threaten to injure people caught without shelter.

While there is not as high of a threat for tornadoes today as there was on Saturday, a few tornadoes may be spawned by the most powerful storms. Remember, it only takes one tornado tearing through a neighborhood to cause demolition and loss of life.

Pounding hail the size of quarters and golf balls remains a threat today and can cause damage to vehicles and windows.

Some areas will get hit by more than one round of strong storms during the day and the evening.

People are urged to stay alert to the stormy situation. Peaks of sunshine between rounds of storms could be deceptive and may actually enhance the threat of storms later in the afternoon.

Flash flooding is another concern with the thunderstorms, especially for low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Flight delays are likely at some of the major airports, including in Washington, D.C., as drenching showers and potentially damaging storms roll through today.

Blinding downpours can slow travel along portions of the I-95 corridor.

Frequent lightning will accompany each thunderstorm that rattles the Southeast, regardless of the thunderstorm's severity. Seek shelter immediately if you hear thunder, since you are then close enough to get struck by potentially deadly lightning.

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