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By Alastair Jamieson

Thunderstorms, icy rain and damaging winds were expected to batter parts of the East Coast Friday, part of a severe weather system that triggered snow and hail and left three dead in Wisconsin.

A wet and sometimes wintry start to Easter was forecast for the Northeast, where freezing rain was expected in northern New England during the morning.

Further south, Florida and parts of the Carolinas were in the sights of a band of thunderstorms that could bring damaging wind gusts, Weather Channel lead forecaster Michael Palmer told NBC News.

However, there will be no repeat of the snow that left roughly 200 people stranded on a treacherous interstate in Colorado late Wednesday and knocked out power to hundreds of homes in Michigan.

“Overall, the system is losing a lot of its punch,” Palmer said. “It will mostly be rain rather than the hail or snow that it delivered in the Plains and the Midwest.”

Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma were bombarded with golf-ball sized hail early Thursday, and reportedly at least one tornado.

Forecasters warned that low humidity and gusty winds could fan localized wildfires Friday in Kansas, Oklahoma and west Texas.

Corky Siemaszko contributed.