Heartland Severe Weather Reaches the East

May 26, 2011; 7:54 AM ET
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The storm threat into tonight includes mostly damaging wind gusts, large hail and flash flooding. However, there may be a few tornadoes as well.

"...Today's storms will produce only a few tornadoes. However, there is still the risk of such a storm hitting a populated area."


The storm system responsible for the tornado carnage in the Heartland this week has reached the Appalachians and the eastern Great Lakes.

Concerns Thursday/Thursday Night

While not forecast by AccuWeather.com meteorologists to be nearly as ferocious as the storms spanning last Sunday through Wednesday, severe weather will stretch from southern Ontario to tornado-weary Alabama and northern Georgia into tonight.

The ongoing severe weather outbreak into this evening will likely produce only a few tornadoes. However, there is still the risk of such a storm hitting a populated area.

The overall severe weather and tornado threat area continues to press farther to the east into more densely populated regions.

Millions of people live in and near some of major population centers in the path of today's storms, ranging from Toronto to Pittsburgh to Birmingham.

With only a few tornadoes forecast for today and tonight, the most common outcome from the storms will be damaging straight-line wind gusts and flash flooding.

However, both of these more common effects from severe thunderstorms can also claim lives and result in property loss due to anything from falling trees to rapidly rising waters.

Friday Concerns

Friday, the risk of flash flooding from a potential trainload of drenching thunderstorms will extend from southern Quebec to West Virginia.

The intensity of thunderstorms reaching I-95 Friday is not set in stone.

At the very least, there will be locally drenching showers and thunderstorms that can lead to some travel delays and perhaps urban flooding issues.

The greatest risk of more serious storms and flooding seems likely north and west of a slot from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City and Providence, R.I.

A zone of high pressure off the coast may cause storms to weaken before reaching areas from Boston to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Raleigh.

One thing to keep in mind is the risk of severe weather increases markedly in the Northeast during late May and June. This is because the cooling and stabilizing impacts of the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean are gradually lost, while storm systems approaching from the Midwest remain relatively strong.

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