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A blast of cold air coming straight from Canada is taking aim at a large swath of the country, bringing a roller coaster of weather extremes — from severe thunderstorms that may cause flash flooding to hail, damaging winds and even possible tornadoes. By 4 a.m. ET Tuesday, northeast Alabama had already seen heavy rain with some four inches falling overnight. This prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for Gadsden, a city of about 30,000 about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham.

The pattern of severe weather is expected to linger at least through Tuesday across the Mid-Atlantic and across parts of the central Rockies and the Front Range, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters also warned about heavy rainfall from the Mid-Atlantic into New England, as well as the southern and central Rockies and the adjacent Plains. Monday afternoon in the nation's capital and up the East Coast saw high winds, rain and lightning, and most parts of the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut remained on alert for severe thunderstorms and flash floods, NBC New York reported.