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Severe Storms Threaten Little Rock, Memphis

January 29, 2013; 5:09 AM

A potent cold front is sparking a round of severe storms on Tuesday. Severe storms will impact communities from the lower Mississippi Valley through the southern mid-Atlantic this week.

Strong southerly winds out ahead of this system is responsible for the significant warm up occurring across the Great Lakes and East.

Live Blog: Dangerous Storms Unfolding

A storm has ejected from the Southwest into the Plains on Tuesday, setting the stage for a multi-day severe weather outbreak across the South.

This system will interact with warm, moist air to spark a round of severe thunderstorms beginning Tuesday across a zone from St. Louis through Little Rock and even close to Dallas, Texas.

Severe weather will then track from west to east Tuesday night across the Tennessee Valley and central Gulf Coast region, bringing a threat to Louisville, Nashville, Jackson and New Orleans.

The main threats associated with these thunderstorms will be strong, damaging winds. In this case strong winds from aloft (70-80 mph several thousand feet up) will reach their way down to the ground in the form of powerful gusts.

This winds can be transferred to the ground within individual thunderstorms, causing widespread tree damage and power outages.

These thunderstorms will also be occurring during the nighttime hours, which is not good news for residents of the South. Nocturnal thunderstorms are even worse as most people are sleeping and are not aware that severe weather warnings have been issued.

Along with the wind damage, flooding downpours are likely with all the moisture in place. A couple of tornadoes are also possible.

The severe weather threat will extend farther east on Wednesday, moving into Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh. There could even be a couple of gusty storms into Washington D.C., and Dover, Del.

Stay tuned to AccuWeather.com over the next few days as we continue to monitor the potential severe weather outbreak.

Click on our AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center for the latest watches and warnings and risk maps.

In the wake of the thunderstorms, another blast of arctic air will drive from the northern Plains to the Northeast as the week progresses.

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