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    Gusty thunderstorms to sweep across US East Coast into Friday evening

    By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather meteorologist
    March 31, 2017, 7:50:35 PM EDT

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    Following a round of showers and thunderstorms from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast on Thursday, activity will shift eastward to the mid-Atlantic coast into Friday evening.

    “Over the past week, severe weather has been rather common over the Southern tier states and the threat for this dangerous weather will continue into Friday evening,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Brown said.

    The severe threat will shift into southern Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina into Friday night.

    A tornado touched down just southeast of Norfolk, Virginia on Friday evening, according to law enforcement. The thunderstorm responsible for the tornado also dropped hail as large as golf balls across the area.

    tornado damage mar31

    A church that was damaged from a tornado on Friday evening near Chesapeake, Virginia. (photo/Twitter user @happygolucky145)

    Over 2,000 were left without power around Norfolk in the wake of the severe thunderstorm, according to Dominion .

    Final severe mar31

    The thunderstorms will not be as intense as those from earlier in the week, but some communities have experienced damaging winds, hail and blinding downpours. The strongest storms have knocked down trees and power lines.

    Anyone traveling across these areas on Friday will need to be on alert for rapidly changing weather conditions and heed all watches and warnings.

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    Motorists are urged to reduce travel in any heavy downpour to limit the threat of hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds. Localized flooding is possible on side streets.

    Never park your vehicle under a bridge or block major highways to prevent damage to your vehicle in any severe thunderstorm. Doing so puts all other motorists behind you in danger.

    Friday will mark the end of a week of widespread severe weather from the southern Plains to the Southeast.

    Several trees were reported down early Thursday afternoon across Jackson County, Mississippi. A tornado was confirmed in this area, according to emergency managers.

    Several tornadoes touched down in Texas and Oklahoma on Tuesday, while an EF1 tornado touched down near downtown Houston on Wednesday morning.

    Strong Storms Southern Plains

    Additional episodes of severe weather will continue across the Southern states into the first half of April.

    "A renewed threat for severe weather is likely this weekend into early next week from the southern Plans to the Southeast," Brown said.

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