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Unusual warm weather in Southeast paves path for tornadoes

It's an unusual time of year for tornado warnings, but given the warm temperatures in the southeastern U.S., forecasters are warning residents to beware of strong wind gusts overnight and into Wednesday. 

The National Weather Service says the following areas are most at risk: Much of Arkansas, southern Illinois, extreme southwestern Indiana, western Kentucky, northern Louisiana, parts of southern Missouri, parts of northern Mississippi, extreme southeastern Oklahoma, western Tennessee, extreme northeastern Texas. 

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Additionally, The Weather Channel gave a 50 percent chance of seeing a tornado in Alabama.

Temperatures are about 22 to 26 degrees above average, according to, and damaging wind gusts of 70 to 80 mph are predicted south from Biloxi, Miss. east to the Virginia. On the periphery of those wind gusts, isolated, spin-up tornadoes may form.  

The Weather Channel warns that the combination of strong winds -- in some areas up to 150 mph -- could result in straight-line wind damage and prime conditions for tornadoes to form. 

The weather service said the threat for severe thunderstorms will increase through Tuesday night in advance of a strong cold front moving across the central U.S. 

State and local emergency managers are on watch, the weather service said.