Days after deadly tornado, Georgia braces for more severe weather

As a storm with heavy snow and debilitating ice shifts from the south-central United States to the Northeast region, AccuWeather forecasters say there is the potential for severe thunderstorms, including the risk of isolated tornadoes, in portions of the Southeast that were pummeled by violent weather at the start of the week.

A tornado, preliminarily rated as an EF3 by National Weather Service, ripped through the area of Brunswick County in southeastern North Carolina late Monday night, killing three people and injuring at least 10 others.

Earlier Monday, an EF2 twister swept through the southwestern Georgia town of Damascus. No deaths were reported, but several people did sustain minor injuries, according to WALB.

Forecasters say the next severe threat will occur Thursday. The storm setup before the end of this week is similar to the one that sparked nearly three dozen severe weather reports ranging from hail to high winds, including four reported tornadoes on Monday.

This mid- to late-week storm is a tad weaker than the storm that rolled through at the start of the week and may not have as much pull of warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. However, it is likely still to have some pull and enough to create an unstable atmosphere that can lead to at least locally severe thunderstorms with high winds, hail and perhaps a few isolated tornadoes.

As the slightly weaker storm is expected to track a tad farther south, compared to the Monday storm, the severe weather risk may not extend as far north into eastern North Carolina this time.

The threat will be highest across far southeastern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and southwestern and central Georgia during the midday hours of Thursday.

“During late Thursday afternoon and evening, the threat of severe thunderstorms and isolated tornadoes will extend from the northern part of the Florida Peninsula to coastal Georgia and the low country of South Carolina,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

A far more widespread impact with the storm in the Southeast will be rounds of heavy rain.

In some areas, downpours can be intense enough to trigger urban and small stream flooding. A general 1-3 inches of rain is forecast to fall into Friday, which is not extreme. However, a significant percentage of that rain may fall in a few hours.

Even though February is typically one of the leanest months of the year, for tornadoes, the month has averaged 29 tornadoes per year based on an average from 1991 to 2010, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Most of these storms have occurred from Texas to Florida.

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