The risk of severe thunderstorms will be centered from Louisiana to Kentucky on Friday. Farther north, the risk of flooding will affect part of the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians.
According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "The greatest threat from the storms will be large hail and strong wind gusts."
"A small number of the storms could produce a brief tornado," Margusity said.
The risk of severe thunderstorms on Friday will extend from Monroe, Louisiana; Tupelo, Mississippi; and Huntsville, Alabama; to London and Lexington, Kentucky. Much of Tennessee will be in the zone of potential severe storms.
Some locations could be hit by multiple severe thunderstorms through Friday night.
People spending time outdoors should keep alert for rapidly changing weather conditions and seek shelter as storms approach. Lightning poses the greatest risk to those unprotected by an enclosed building or vehicle.
"A slow-moving storm system and trailing cold front ramming into warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will help to fuel the storms," Margusity said.
"Winds aloft will be strong enough to give the storms extra power."
The moisture from the Gulf can lead to locally excessive rainfall with a few inches possible in some locations.
The combination of rainfall and the slow-moving, heavy nature thunderstorms will raise the potential for flash and urban flooding from the lower Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys to part of the Appalachians.
Most areas will receive 1-2 inches of rain from the storm. At the very least, rain will slow travel from Peoria, Illinois, to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Charleston, West Virginia.
Never drive through flooded roadways. The road may have been washed away beneath and your vehicle could be swept downstream into deeper water.
Since streams are running high from late-winter melting snow and heavy rainfall, new rises could occur on some of the larger rivers as the runoff works its way through the basins.
The downpours and remnants of the storms will push through Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston during Friday night. Where the storm runs into colder air in the Northeast, snow will fall Friday night into Saturday.
Once the cold front sweeps off the Atlantic coast on Friday night, the risk of severe weather will diminish and remain low for Easter weekend.
Much of the region targeted by heavy rain and/or severe thunderstorms on Friday will be dry with at least partial sunshine on Saturday. Rain will gather over the lower Mississippi Valley on Easter Sunday.
"The risk of damaging thunderstorms will resume over the Central states next week as a new storm rolls out of the Rockies," Margusity said.
The new storm system is likely to produce multiple days of severe weather.