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Severe Storms, Heavy Rain Threaten Florida

UPDATED 12:30 PM EST, March 6, 2014

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Seth Carrier and James West

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The Sunshine State along with the rest of the Southeast and the Gulf Coast is having a soggy, stormy Thursday. Severe thunderstorms will continue to roar across southern and central Florida today.

Heavy rain is soaking Florida, the Southeast and the Deep South as a big low pressure system over the eastern Gulf of Mexico begins its push towards the Southeast. As this system moves northeast today, the combination of the warm, moist air over the Florida Peninsula and the system`s cold front over the central Gulf of Mexico will destabilize the atmosphere. This is setting the stage for severe storms across central and southern Florida this afternoon.

The biggest threat with today`s storms will be damaging wind gusts that may exceed 60 mph, along with isolated large hail. In addition, twisting winds in the lower levels of the atmosphere will bring the threat for an isolated tornado or two. The storms are expected to weaken as they continue into early Friday morning. The cities most at risk to see severe weather today will include Miami, Tampa and Orlando, Fla.

A Tornado Watch is in effect across southern and central Florida and the Florida Keys through 7 p.m. EST this evening.

In addition, heavy rain will be found across northern Florida, the Southeast and the Carolinas, where 1 to 2 inches of rain are expected today and Friday. This includes the Tallahassee and Jacksonville areas, with up to 2.5 inches of rain near Gainesville, Fla.

If you live in an area that could be threatened by thunderstorms, be sure to download the mobile WeatherBug app on your smart phone. The mobile apps now include Spark Lightning Alerts, a GPS-based lightning detection feature providing you the location of the closest lightning strike, so you can Know Before the storm hits. Click here for the link to download.

Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest severe weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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