Severe Storm, Tornado Threat Shifts East Today

February 29, 2012; 6:22 PM ET
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After a night riddled with destructive and deadly severe weather across the central Plains and part of the Mississippi Valley, the threat for severe storms will shift east today.

Areas targeted by violent storms into this evening will stretch from the Tennessee Valley and to the Ohio Valley and includes the cities of Nashville, Tenn., London, Ky., Charleston, W.V., Tupelo, Miss. and Huntsville, Ala.

Tonight, Virginia and the Carolinas could experience a few strong storms.

While damaging wind gusts and large hail will be the primary concern from thunderstorms, there will continue to be an enhanced threat for tornadoes.

A powerful storm system crossing the Midwest is responsible for the severe storms and tornadoes, which has killed at least four people overnight in Missouri and Illinois.

Multiple tornadoes touched down late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday from eastern Kansas to Missouri. Branson, Mo., sustained some of the worst damage, with multiple structures destroyed.

Though the severe storm and tornado threat may wane for a few hours later this morning, widespread severe weather is expected again by the afternoon and evening hours.

The strongest storms will form along and just ahead of a cold front pressing east today, impacting areas from Alabama and Mississippi northeastward through Tennessee, Kentucky, southeastern Indiana, Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The greatest threat for severe storms, including a few tornadoes, will be across the Tennessee and Ohio valleys.

Please be sure to monitor the latest weather conditions while at home or work, and be prepared if necessary to head to the appropriate shelter. Every tornado warning should be taken seriously!

Hail up to the size of golf balls and wind gusts of 60 mph will also be possible with any severe storm. Frequent lightning and blinding downpours will also occur.

Since the main storm system will have peaked, severe weather will become less widespread after dark, with areas south and east of the Appalachians including Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va., at a somewhat reduced risk.

Even with the reduced risk, any strong thunderstorm after dark is especially dangerous with the possibility of an isolated tornado remaining.

In addition to severe storms, this massive storm is also bringing blizzard conditions to the northern Plains, and one of the biggest snowfalls of the season to upstate New York and New England.

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