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Topline

More than 20 million people from the Northeast to the Great Plains are under winter storm warnings as forecasters warn a major storm system coupled with tornado warnings in the South could bring “significant impacts” across a wide swath of the country.

Key Facts

A tornado watch has been issued for Florida’s panhandle and southeastern Alabama effective through 11 a.m. Thursday, with wind gusts reaching 70 mph and the possibility of “frequent” lightning and flash flooding, according to AccuWeather forecasters.

It comes one day after a rare tornado emergency was issued in Houston, where a “catastrophic” tornado swept through on Tuesday afternoon, leaving behind heavy damage, including a structure collapse at a nursing home.

In addition to the Gulf Coast, sections of the midwest and northeast have been placed under winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings from the National Weather Service, including the majority of New York and New England, across Pennsylvania and Ohio, west to Missouri.

Sections of Alabama, Georgia and northern Florida, as well as all of Tennessee and most of Kentucky are under a wind advisory, as NWS meteorologists warn a “multifaceted” storm will bring “significant impacts across a large portion of the nation.”

Heavy snowfall from the Great Plains into northern New England is expected to bring “moderate or major impacts,” including downed trees and power outages, and heavily reduce visibility on the roads, causing “dangerous traveling conditions.”

Big Number

211,000. That’s how many homes and businesses are without power in Texas, Arkansas and Missouri as of 8:30 Wednesday morning, after tornadoes and heavy rain swept through the south central plains Tuesday night, according to poweroutage.us.

What To Watch For

Heavy rain, flash flooding and “severe” thunderstorms in the central Gulf Coast on Wednesday, with heavy rains expected along the east coast on Thursday. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service predict heavy snow from Oklahoma to New England on Wednesday into Thursday, with snowfall totals reaching up to a foot in northern New England.

Contra

Several major cities in the northeast, which had been in the midst of a historic “snow drought” this winter, are expected to dodge the snow once again, as a band of heavy rain moves into the area. Philadelphia, which typically records its first “measurable” snowfall by mid-December, is nearing a record for the latest date in the winter before the city recorded a measurable snow event, with the previous record coming on Feb. 3, 1995, Axios reported. New York City could also break a late season snowless record, as unseasonably warm weather lingers in the mid-Atlantic and northeast.

Further Reading

‘Catastrophic’ Tornado Sweeps Houston Area As Winter Storm Pummels Eastern U.S. (Forbes)

LIVE: Damage near Houston as likely tornadoes rip through Texas (AccuWeather)





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