A winter storm system across the country is expected to bring severe weather to the south and northeast.
About 16 million people are at risk of an outbreak of severe weather Tuesday in the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys, which will include parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Strong, long tornadoes will be possible with hail the size of a baseball or larger and potentially damaging winds of 75 mph.
A Watch the tornado was issued by the National Weather Service as of Tuesday afternoon for an area including northeast Louisiana, southern Arkansas and central Mississippi.
The agency described the threat of tornadoes as “a particularly dangerous situation” and warned residents in the area to be prepared.
Jackson, Mississippi, is at the center of the severe weather hazard zone, with other cities to watch out for being Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans; Birmingham, Alabama; and Shreveport, Louisiana.
Since sunsets are before 5 p.m. in most risk areas, the majority of dangerous thunderstorms will occur in the dark. This will increase the danger, as nighttime tornadoes are 2.5 times more likely to be deadly than daytime ones.
Flood watches are also in effect along parts of the central eastern Gulf Coast, where storms could bring flash flooding through Wednesday morning.
The storm system will move east on Wednesday, bringing strong thunderstorms, heavy rain and wind to the East Coast. Rain and wind will be the primary weather drivers for the mid-Atlantic to New England region, with severe storms possible from Georgia to northern Florida.
Atlanta; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans; and Tallahassee, Florida could all see heavy storms, especially in the first half of the day.
It will likely rain in New York City for the Rockefeller Center tree lighting on Wednesday. There will also be gusty winds near 40 mph in the city, with temperatures forecast in the 50s.
Over 1,990 flights to or from US airports were delayed and 233 flights were canceled starting at 1:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com. Most of those cancellations — 150 — occurred at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where Alaska Airlines canceled 90 flights due to expected winter weather in the region.
“Our flight operations will be impacted on Tuesday and throughout the week,” the airline said in a statement. “Additional cancellations are possible as we assess the impact of the weather on our operations.”
The north side of this storm system across the country will bring snow, which will affect the Upper Midwest.
As of Tuesday morning, snow was moving into parts of the central Rockies and northern Great Plains in the upper Midwest, including parts of Iowa and Minnesota.
This patch of snow is expected to continue east and move into places like Minneapolis-St. Metro Paul Tuesday afternoon and early evening. Some snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour could occasionally arrive around evening rush hour.
A total of 3 to 6 inches of snow will likely be from southern Minnesota west of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through Wednesday.