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Deadly Storms Terrorize Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic

UPDATED 9:45 PM EDT, April 16, 2011

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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Deadly storms producing very strong and long-lived tornadoes, destructive wind gusts and large hail will continue to race across the eastern Carolinas tonight. These ferocious storms have claimed at least ten lives in central and eastern North Carolina since earlier this afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Risk for deadly storms in eastern North Carolina, including Cape Hatteras and New Bern, N.C.

WeatherBug Meteorologist Bryan Karrick has the latest in this exclusive WeatherBug Severe Weather Outlook.

A Tornado Watch continues across eastern North Carolina. The strong likelihood of powerful tornadoes located within this watch make it a Particularly Dangerous Situation. Places including Cape Hatteras and New Bern, N.C., are all under this watch box.

A second Tornado Watch stretches from south-central Pennsylvania into Delaware and southwestern New Jersey, including Wilmington, Del.

A powerful cold front is joining forces with a very warm and humid air mass surging northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the eastern Carolinas tonight. At the same time, a river of strong winds at both, lower-and-upper levels of the atmosphere, is maintaining these dangerous storms along the eastern shorelines of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Even the northern Mid-Atlantic is not escaping unscathed from the severe weather outbreak along the Eastern Seaboard, as a new low pressure now located in western Virginia is teaming up with a warm front, which is igniting a dangerous squall-line of severe storms from northeastern Maryland into south-central and southeastern Pennsylvania.

The threat for a few strong and long-lived tornadoes will persist across the eastern shorelines and Outer Banks of North Carolina during the next few hours. As a result, the Storm Prediction Center has placed a Moderate Risk for powerful storms. Aside from the continued strong tornado threat, destructive wind gusts in excess of 70 mph and large hail will also be common.

Meanwhile, a few isolated tornadoes and damaging wind gusts greater than 60 mph will be likely across the Mid-Atlantic tonight. The highest risk for this severe weather will be in the next few hours across Maryland and into southern Pennsylvania, before the activity shifts eastward and gradually diminishes in intensity when crossing into New Jersey and Delaware.

Not only will severe weather continue to be a problem this evening and tonight, but flash flooding and river flooding is becoming an increasing reality. The rain and storms, feeding off copious Gulf and Atlantic moisture will drop up to 2 inches of heavy rain, some in a short time period. Along the northern Appalachian Spine and higher terrain of southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as across the Delmarva Peninsula and into the New York City metro area, the heavy rain and saturated soil is creating numerous areas of flash flooding, especially in urban and poor drainage. Additionally, excessive runoff into already swollen rivers, streams and creeks, will likely exacerbate flooding through Sunday.

Flash Flood Warnings and Watches continue from the northern Appalachians in northern Virginia, to southeastern New York, while Flood Watches stretch from the Connecticut River Valley to the Delmarva Peninsula. If you come across a flooded roadway, do not attempt to cross it, as it is likely deeper than it appears and could quickly sweep a person away. Remember, "Turn Around, Don't Drown!"

The dangerous and destructive storms will end quickly after midnight, as the sharp cold front bolts off the East Coast. The end of the weekend will be sunshine-filled and drier, allowing recovery and cleanup to take place all the way from the southern Plains into the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic.

This is day three of the severe weather outbreak that has stretched from the southern Plains into the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic, where at least 216 unconfirmed tornadoes have been recorded. At least 27 people have perished in the storms, with dozens injured. Emergency officials near Elizabethtown, N.C., have confirmed two deaths this evening, while another unconfirmed tornado was blamed for a death in Benson, N.C. Bladenboro, N.C., received significant structural damage to homes and buildings, and are also reporting one fatality this evening. Meanwhile, softball-size hail pelted Turbeville, S.C., while a 68 mph thunderstorm wind gust ripped through the community of Wintergreen, Va.

Be sure to keep your WeatherBug active to receive the latest severe weather alerts in your neighborhood. Get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter at WeatherBug WeatherBuzz.

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