By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 4,2017, 8:54:43PM,EDT
After ravaging the Mississippi Valley with flooding rain and strong winds during the middle of the week, severe weather will sweep across the Southeast through Thursday night.
“A storm will pull warm, moist air out of the Gulf of Mexico and across the Southeast on Thursday,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney.
“As this storm stirs the atmosphere, it will fuel strong, gusty, perhaps severe thunderstorms across Georgia and South Carolina,” LeSeney said.
A severe thunderstorm moved through Jacksonville, Florida late on Thursday afternoon, with winds gusting past 70 mph at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station. Winds from this storm brought down trees around the city, emergency managers reported.
Damage was reported around Walterboro on Thursday evening by a possible tornado, according to a National Weather Service trained spotter.
"High winds with and in the absence of thunderstorms will affect portions of eastern Tennessee and part of southern Kentucky," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Blinding downpours can reduce visibility and pond on roadways quickly, making travel hazardous.
When threatening weather approaches, those on the road should pull over. Those outdoors should seek shelter in a sturdy building.
“Sporadic power outages are possible, due to falling trees and tree limbs in some communities,” said Sosnowski said.
Residents should take precautions ahead of any storms to secure any outdoor furniture or cars, or move them indoors.
Blowing debris can cause significant damage to homes and vehicles.
“Thunderstorms may produce not only locally heavy rainfall, but damaging winds and perhaps an isolated tornado,” said LeSeney.
While tornadoes are not expected to be widespread, a few brief spin-up tornadoes are not out of the question.
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The storms are expected to track eastward and northeastward through the evening and overnight, impacting northeastern Florida, coastal South Carolina and perhaps as far north as eastern and North Carolina.
"The storms have the potential to bring soaking rain to drought-stricken and wildfire-threatened areas of Florida to end the week," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
However, overnight storms can be particularly dangerous as those in the line of fire cannot see the threat or may be asleep.
It will be important for those who live in Florida and the Carolinas to keep a weather radio or charged phone nearby with severe weather alerts enabled.
This soaking weather is expected to lift into the Northeast through the end of the week.