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Powerful Thunderstorms Eye Central, South Fla. Later Today

UPDATED 3 PM EST, December 11, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West

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Though the calendar says meteorological winter has arrived, Mother Nature is throwing Sunshine State residents an unwanted curveball full of dangerous thunderstorms later today. The primary threat will be gusty winds, though a brief tornado spin-up is not out of the question along the state`s Atlantic Coast.

A strong cold front draped across the Southeast and the Florida Big Bend will slowly ease into central Florida this afternoon and evening. Much cooler, drier air sweeping through the Deep South in the wake of the cold front will collide with the warm, humid air, touching off clusters of dangerous thunderstorms across central Florida.

Orlando, Melbourne and Miami, Fla., will be most at risk for thunderstorms producing damaging wind gusts in excess of 60 mph and a brief tornado spin-up. Even a few dangerous thunderstorms could bubble as far south as Key West, Fla.

The cold front will stall and then fizzle across central and southern Florida on Wednesday. However, a new low pressure system developing along the front will bring numerous showers and thunderstorms to many of the same locations impacted by today`s storms. Fortunately, widespread cloud cover will favor non-severe thunderstorms on Wednesday.

The front has a history of producing severe damage in the Southeast and Lower Mississippi Valley since Sunday. An EF-1 tornado tore through Baker, La., early Monday morning, while another EF-1 tornado ripped through Tylertown along the Louisiana and Mississippi border; 12 mobile homes were destroyed by thunderstorm wind gusts near Edgewater, Fla.

The storms were even more of a menace across the Lower Mississippi Valley on Sunday. One person was hurt near Viola, Ark., when a storm ripped through three mobile homes while another house was ripped off its foundation near Pocahontas, Ark.

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