Thunderstorms were bearing down on huge swathes of the East Coast on Friday, raising the risk that tornadoes would strike the region.
“There is a threat of severe weather down the spine of the Appalachian Mountains and down through Georgia and into the Florida Panhandle,” said Michael Palmer, a forecaster at the Weather Channel. “It will weaken as it heads eastward, but then it will try to redevelop this afternoon.”
The odd tornado might also form, Palmer added. The National Weather Service predicted that most East Coast states will experience thunderstorms, including New York City and parts of southern New England.
On Thursday, a twister destroyed seven outbuildings in Arenzville, Ill., northwest of Springfield, and knocked over power poles and campers in Mechanicsburg, according to the National Weather Service. There were no injuries reported.
It was the first confirmed tornado in the U.S. since four twisters caused minor damage Jan. 11 in Georgia and Virginia more than a month ago.
“Most of the storms will be off the East Coast by this evening,” said the Weather Channel’s Palmer who added that much colder weather is expected next week, with temperatures expected to be between 10 to 30 degrees below average.
It’s better news for the upper Midwest where the blizzard will start to wane after a light snow dump this morning, and drought-struck California will get dousing from a couple of Pacific systems next week, he added.
“It is certainly not going to end the drought but it is good news because they need it,” he said.
NBC News' M. Alex Johnson contributed to this report.
First published February 21 2014, 1:57 AM