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Strong Storms to Threaten Philly, DC, Raleigh Wednesday

Damaging thunderstorms will threaten residents and travelers from North Carolina northward into southeastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Early Wednesday morning will be tranquil and mild across the mid-Atlantic before threatening weather develops in the afternoon and evening.

Downpours and thunderstorms will initially form in North Carolina around lunchtime before tracking northeastward toward Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in the late afternoon and evening.

"The main severe threat will be locally damaging winds on Wednesday, especially during the afternoon," said Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak.

Travelers on Interstate 95, between Philadelphia and Fayetteville, N.C., can experience slow travel and reduced visibility as downpours cross the region.

"There may be enough spin in the atmosphere to spark an isolated tornado or two," said Gresiak.

The strong thunderstorm threat will evolve on the warm side of a wide-reaching winter storm.

Since the warmth may encourage time outdoors Wednesday afternoon and evening, people should be on heightened alert for approaching dark clouds and listening for thunder in the distance.

Anytime you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. As soon as you hear thunder, seek shelter.

Following the stormy weather, it will turn windy, colder and drier for the remainder of Wednesday night.

The cold front will usher in a sharp change to colder weather on Thursday. High temperatures in some areas may plummet as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday in comparison to Wednesday.