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    Violent Storms, Tornadoes Reach Southern Appalachians

    By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
    March 04, 2012, 11:50:12 AM EST

    Areas from the southern Appalachians to the interior South are in harm's way tonight as the violent thunderstorm and tornado outbreak continues.

    The weather setup has had a history producing damaging wind, large hail and tornadoes, but also multiple strong, long-tracking tornadoes.

    The potential for tornadoes is continuing for several hours after dark, increasing the danger even more.

    The broad risk of tornadoes will occur along and ahead of a cold front sweeping from west to east into this evening. The threat will not end until that front sweeps to the east.

    **Tornadoes touched down in portions of southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, northern Alabama and southeastern Tennessee late in the morning. In the afternoon multiple strong tornadoes struck in southern Indiana, Kentucky and southern Ohio.**

    **Violent storms capable of producing tornadoes continued tonight over eastern Tennessee, southward to Alabama and northern Georgia.**

    **There is a state of emergency in effect for all of Kentucky in the wake of the devastating tornadoes.**

    **The risk of severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds and a tornado exists in the Birmingham, Ala. area until 10:00 p.m. CST and the Atlanta, Ga. area until around midnight EST.**

    Some areas will be hit by more than one violent thunderstorm.

    The storms will be moving fast, some at a speed of 50 mph and people may not have much time to react.

    RELATED: Live Blogging: Dangerous Tornado Outbreak Track the Tornado Outbreak on Radar

    Even though your day may have started cool and clammy, weather conditions can change rapidly in this situation favoring severe weather.


    The risk of violent thunderstorms will diminish from northwest to southeast tonight into the Appalachians.

    During the middle of tonight, the greatest risk area for violent thunderstorms, including tornadoes will stretch from the southern Appalachians to central Alabama and northern Georgia. Chattanooga, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga. and Montgomery, Ala.


    As we stated earlier, tornadoes are not the only threat. Severe thunderstorms produce frequent lightning strikes. The potential for winds strong enough to damage roofs and knock over trees is very high. Large hail accompanying the storms can cause injury, break windows and damage vehicles.

    For these reasons we urge you to move indoors and away from windows as storms approach.


    We strongly recommend constant monitoring of severe weather bulletins and staying in touch with family member's whereabouts.

    If a storm is approaching your location, seek shelter in the basement, in a small interior room, or cover yourself with a mattress.

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