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Severe storms threaten flooding, tornadoes and large hail in South and parts of Mississippi Valley today and tomorrow

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) — Another round of severe weather is slamming parts of the South and Mississippi Valley Tuesday night, less than a week after a powerful storm system that swept through parts of the region killed at least three people.

Heavy rain, strong winds and dangerous thunderstorms began Monday from Texas to Alabama. The storms have dumped around 4 to 6 inches of rain in parts of northeast Texas, northwest Louisiana and southwest Arkansas, prompting flash flood warnings Tuesday.

Continuing storms are forecast to unleash flooding, damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes Tuesday night through Thursday, threatening tens of millions of Americans from eastern Texas to the Southeast coast. By late Tuesday night, nearly 80,000 customers across Louisiana and Texas were in the dark, according to power tracking website

Of particular concern is the threat of tornadoes of at least EF2 strength in an area stretching from eastern Texas to the Florida Panhandle through Wednesday night.

In Mississippi, the National Weather Service said a damaging tornado was confirmed just after 8:30 p.m. local time Tuesday over Raymond, roughly 20 miles west of the state’s capital city of Jackson.

“To repeat, a tornado is on the ground. TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building,” the weather service warned. “Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.”

The weather service in Forth Worth, Texas, has urged residents who were in the path of a storm in Bell County Tuesday night to “seek shelter,” warning baseball-sized hail was ongoing.

The storms will also continue to bring heavy rain over the same areas that have been getting drenched since Monday. Widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected across parts of the southern Mississippi Valley Tuesday into Wednesday with more than 8 inches possible in localized areas. Flood watches have already been issued for much of the region through Wednesday evening.

In parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, the several rounds of heavy rain expected between Tuesday and Wednesday will likely lead to flash flooding and minor to moderate river flooding, the National Weather Service in Jackson warned.

In some areas just west of Jackson, up to 10 inches of rain are possible, with the potential of flooded roads and structures, the weather service said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week directed the state’s emergency management division to mobilize emergency response resources ahead of the severe weather and urged the thousands of Americans who poured into the state to witness Monday’s solar eclipse to heed weather warnings from officials.

On Tuesday, the governor said he directed officials to deploy additional resources in response to severe thunderstorms and potential flash floods.

Wednesday could bring the worst of the storms

The most significant storm threat could come Wednesday and will be ongoing during the morning hours as storms from overnight Tuesday push east.

The Storm Prediction Center warned of “numerous” severe thunderstorms Wednesday, including “many tornadoes, some of which should be strong (EF2-EF3 caliber)” and damaging wind gusts topping 75 mph.

A Level 4 of 5 threat of severe storms stretches from eastern Louisiana to western Alabama, including Baton Rouge and Jackson. These are the areas most at risk for strong tornadoes, but some will also be possible in Level 3 of 5 areas, including New Orleans and Mobile.

A more isolated tornado and damaging wind risk is expected in Level 2 of 5 threat areas, including Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville, Alabama.

Flash flooding could occur in all areas, especially parts of eastern Mississippi and central and southern Alabama. A Level 3 of 4 threat of flooding rain covers the area, the Weather Prediction Center said. Rain could drop at nearly 2 inches per hour across Alabama’s I-20/I-59 interchange.

By Thursday, the severe storm threat shifts further into the Southeast while storms also pummel the Ohio Valley. Both regions face Level 2 of 5 threats for damaging winds and a potential tornado or two. The flood threat on Thursday spans from the Southeast to New England, with the most severe conditions anticipated across the Appalachian Mountains.

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Article Topic Follows: cnn-weather/environment

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