Following several days of severe weather over the middle of the nation this week, storms will erupt from parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to northeastern Texas on Friday and Friday evening.
According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Becky Elliot, "While the tornado threat is low, the storms could produce wind gusts to 55 mph and small hail."
A few communities could be hit with much stronger wind gusts and large hail. Frequent lightning strikes will pose a threat to those outdoors.
For some locations in the South and mid-Atlantic, the setup could produce the first heavy duty thunderstorm of the season. Persistent chilly air in the Northeast and limited days with high humidity in the South have greatly reduced the number of thunderstorms thus far.
"We don't expect discrete supercell thunderstorms, which would be capable of producing strong tornadoes on Friday, but a squall line can bring a sudden downpour and strong gusty winds as it moves through," Elliot said.
When a thunderstorm becomes severe, there is a slight chance it can produce a short-lived tornado.
Winds could be strong enough to cause minor property damage, down tree limbs and cause sporadic power outages. Loose items in yards or on decks could be tossed about.
As the storms roll through major metro areas and airports, they will bring the potential for travel disruptions. The heavy and locally severe storms can affect Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Norfolk, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Atlanta; Columbia, South Carolina; Montgomery, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; New Orleans and Houston.
The risk of locally severe storms includes Augusta, Georgia, on Friday, where the 2015 Masters Golf Tournament is taking place.
A handful of heavy storms can erupt farther to the southwest in Texas and from northern New Jersey into New England as well on Friday afternoon and evening.
Brief urban flooding can occur with blinding downpours. Airline passengers may have to contend with delays and some flights may re-routed until the storms pass through airport locations.
Remember never to drive through flooded roadways as a mere foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle downstream. The road could be washed out beneath the water.
Keep an eye out for changing sky conditions if outdoors. Developing thunderstorms can begin to produce lightning with no notice. Seek shelter indoors and away from windows as storms approach and if any warnings are issued.
The approach of the storms will bring a brief spike in warmth in much of the Northeast and mark an end to the buildup of heat and humidity in part of the South in their wake.
The cool front forecast to produce the storms will be moving along at a swift pace across the interior South and the Northeast, setting the stage for a dry and mild spring weekend.
The front's forward speed will decrease near the Gulf Coast, which will cause the threat showers and thunderstorms to continue into the weekend.