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Severe Storms Threaten 17 Million People

Powerful thunderstorms are imminent, from Virginia to Florida
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Ribbon lightning rains down over Texas near Lubbock from a severe thunderstorm on October 12 2012.
This file photo shows the type of dramatic thunderstorms that are headed to the southern Atlantic coast. (Zachary Roberts via Getty Images)

Just days after an arctic blast busted low temperature records in the Southeast, Saturday will bring the threat for severe thunderstorms to the region.

Several large population centers could be impacted across the region, including Richmond, Va., Raleigh, N.C., Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla. In total, 17 million people are at risk to see severe storms.

"Strong winds with the most intense thunderstorms can knock down trees and power lines, creating electricity service disruptions and possibly damage to property," said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde.

There will be enough twisting of the winds that some thunderstorms could spawn tornadoes. This setup does not favor an outbreak of tornadoes, but rather a situation where tornadoes could form on an isolated basis.

With a juicy environment in place, these storms can dump quite a bit of rain in a short period of time. Downpours could lead to flooding of low lying and poor drainage areas.

Ponding of water will be a threat on Interstates 95, 20, 26, 85 and 64, which could cause travel delays.

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A combination of winds, lightning and reduced visibility could cause flight delays across the region. Rain is also expected for the major hubs in the Northeast which can exacerbate delays at the airports.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to move through Metro Atlanta during the morning hours and those can contain gusty winds and downpours. However, the greatest threat for severe thunderstorms will be east of the area.

The cold front that will aid thunderstorm development will quickly sweep through the Southeast region on Saturday into Saturday night. Sunday will bring cooler weather along with lower humidity.

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