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Fox News Weather Center

Flash Flooding, Damaging Wind Threat Invades Southeast

The same system that produced tornadoes, flooding and blizzard conditions across the central Plains is shifting a line of heavy rain and thunderstorms into the Southeast through midweek.

Flash flooding and gusty winds will be the main threats through Thursday.

While these storms have lost a lot of their punch as they have moved east, a few severe thunderstorms will fire along the Gulf Coast states on Wednesday. Gusty winds and isolated tornadoes are possible across coastal Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle on Wednesday morning. For Wednesday afternoon and into the evening, locally strong winds and even a tornado could be found across northern Florida and southern Georgia.

BREAKING: Isolated Tornado Threat for Gulf Coast

The bigger story, however, will be the flash flooding.

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Evan Duffey, there is a large area of extremely moist air near the Gulf Coast.

This moist air can be thought of as a sponge soaked with water.

"As this system works across the Southeast, it will wring moisture out of the air and rainfall rates of an inch or more per hour will ensue," Duffey said.

Intense rain rates combined with a slow-moving system will equate to blinding downpours, flash flooding, road closures, and flight delays.

"Rainfall amounts will reach as high as 3 inches across the Southeast, with locally higher totals in the most drenching downpours," stated Duffey.

If you ever encounter a flooded roadway, remember to turn around and find an alternate route. Only several inches of flowing water can result in loss of control of a vehicle.

In addition to flooding, gusty winds outside of severe thunderstorms are possible.

"When rain falls from the sky with such intensity, it is easy to pull stronger winds from higher up in the atmosphere down to the surface," Duffey said.

This will create the threat for damaging winds in the vicinity of heavier downpours.

Wind gusts up to 40-50 mph are possible on Wednesday, as the line of showers and storms move through eastern Mississippi and Tennessee, Alabama, and northwestern Georgia. As these storms cross the southern portions of the Appalachians on Wednesday night into Thursday, the threat for damaging winds will diminish.

Flash flooding will be the primary concern across the Carolinas and eastern Georgia on Thursday.

While South Florida will miss the bulk of the heavier rain and thunderstorms, spottier showers and storms are expected, with severe weather remaining unlikely.

This system will move off the Southeast coast on Thursday night and an area of high pressure will quickly follow in its wake, bringing drier weather into the weekend.