There is the risk of strong to locally severe thunderstorms for a time Wednesday night from northern Louisiana to southern Illinois.
The greatest risks from the storms will be strong wind gusts and hail, as well as flash and urban flooding.
Cities that could be hit by the strong storms and their gusty winds and blinding downpours include Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis, Tenn.; Tupelo, Miss.; Monroe, La., Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; and Evansville, Ind.
Even as the potential for severe thunderstorms decreases after midnight, showers and locally heavy, gusty thunderstorms will continue along an advancing front as it pushes to the east through Thursday.
There is a slight chance of a couple of the strongest storms producing a tornado.
A strong flow of air behind the front can bring damaging wind gusts even without thunderstorms.
There is the potential for nearly hurricane-force wind gusts in the clear air spanning thousands of square miles expanding from the northern Rockies to the northern and central Plains during the middle of the week.
Very blustery conditions are likely to sweep into the middle Mississippi and Ohio valleys Wednesday night and Thursday in the wake of the front.
As more than 94 million take to the roads and skies this weekend, a storm has begun to unfold threading to hinder early Christmas travel.
Thunderstorms in parts of the South this weekend may become strong enough to threaten lives and property.
As California heads into its third consecutive dry winter with no relief in sight, firefighters continue to battle a late-fall blaze in Big Sur.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
An abrupt and abnormal cold wave gripped parts of southeastern Texas in early December, catching many off-guard, including two native Southern California bobcats recently transferred to the area.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Perey, IL (1967)
An F2 tornado carried women and her baby 400 feet; they survived.
Portland, OR (1892)
27.5" of snow (21st-24th).
Des Moines, IA (1990)
Freezing drizzle with a temperature of -2 degrees F.