Thick heat and humidity in place from the nation's midsection to the Southeast will provide fuel for some more drenching thunderstorms today.
As a few potent upper-level disturbances pass through the heat, some of the storms could turn severe, especially across the lower Missouri and mid-Mississippi valleys, as well as a portion of the South.
Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., Paducah, Ky., and Macon, Ga., are among the cities at higher risk for a gusty storm versus the rest of the Midwest and South, where scattered storms will be common.
Powerful wind gusts in excess of 50 mph and some hail will result from a few complexes of thunderstorms through early tonight. Vivid lightning and flooding downpours will be a staple in any storm as well.
It is plausible that one or two storms could rotate and spawn a tornado; however, the possibility of numerous twisters appears low.
Any tornado warning must be taken seriously and those warned should seek safe shelter regardless of whether a tornado is actually confirmed with the warning.
Even non-severe storms can be dangerous. Lightning injured four people on the beach in Wildwood Crest, N.J., on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, there were numerous reports of strong wind gusts and hail from southern Missouri to Virginia.
The storm system that pushed through the northern Plains slated to arrive in Missouri today also produced wind damage and hail from Colorado to Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, the northern Plains will have little time in between severe weather episodes as a multi-day outbreak is expected to take shape this evening over the Dakotas.
Meanwhile, the Northeast, plagued by several days of isolated but drenching storms will finally catch a break late this week as high pressure builds in from the west. This weekend, however, the storms will return.
A tropical threat from the Atlantic on the United States and Caribbean islands may increase into next week.
As temperatures rise through the weekend in the South, so will the risk for heat-related dangers.
United States residents may pay higher heating costs this fall as colder air is expected to grip the Rockies and Plains at times and some quick-hitting chilly shots may impact the Northeast.
A fresh shot of cool air will keep temperatures below normal in northern Europe through this weekend.
Rescue efforts are underway in Hiroshima, Japan, after several landslides buried people and caused severe damage on Wednesday morning, local time.
Earthquakes raise fear of volcanic eruption in Iceland that could impact millions of travelers.
Wichita Falls, TX (1980)
108 degrees -- new record high for this date, also the 56th day of the last 59 days that they have reached 100 degrees or more.
New Orleans, LA (1980)
102 degrees -- highest reading ever recorded in the Mardi Gras city.
Southern Florida (1992)
Hurricane Andrew makes landfall in southern Florida as a Category 5 storm with wind gusts estimated in excess of 175 mph. Estimated damages exceeded $20 billion, more than 60 people were killed and approximately 2 million people were evacuated from their homes.