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.
This weekend will be one of the busiest travel weekends across the country as millions people head home from Christmas travels.
Just in time for Boxing Day and the weekend, a winter storm is set to dive into the United Kingdom and central Europe with rain and disruptive snow.
A system tracking over the Rocky Mountains will spread snow over the region and into the Plains through the remainder of the week.
While lacking across a large part of the United States on Christmas Day, arctic air is set to make a comeback during the final days of 2014.
On Christmas Day in 1776, George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River, in spite of treacherous weather, for a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War.
While many areas across the country felt a milder Christmas morning, residents across Utah, Montana and Idaho woke to snow-covered ground in time for holiday celebrations.
New England (1778)
The Hessian Storm at Newport commenced 0 degrees, 18" of snow, NE gales - 50 soldiers reported frozen or lost - all of New England suffered.
Coldest Christmas ever known...minus 8 degrees in Boston. Minus 45 degrees in Lunenburg, VT
Cap May, NJ (1909)
28.57" barometer reading during large coastal storm.