ORLANDO, Fla. - Scattered storms are expected to hit Central Florida on Wednesday as thousands head out to return or exchange holiday gifts.
Radar shows the worst of the storms are projected to be northwest of Interstate 4 in the morning hours. The best potential for isolated severe weather, including rotating storms, is north of Orlando. The storms will drag through Central Florida, hitting the east coast at around 3 p.m.
"That line of storms is all part of a bigger system that been affecting much of the eastern half of the U.S.," said Local 6 meteorologist Julie Broughton. "The bulk of the system is sitting well off to our north where it's being driven by very low pressure, dragging a cold front to our area."
Broughton said part of the band of storms out in the Gulf of Mexico has intensified, with lightning and showers picking up. The chance of rain increases to 60 percent through noon, dips down to 20 percent around 4 p.m. and intensifies again at around 6 p.m.
The storms also caused delays across the southeastern US, canceling more than 300 flights nationwide, with only a handful being canceled or delayed in Orlando.
The storm system that dumped snow and sleet on the nation's midsection and unleashed damaging tornadoes around the Deep South began punching its way toward the Northeast on Wednesday, slowing holiday travel.
Post-Christmas travelers braced for flight delays and a raft of weather warnings for drivers, a day after rare winter twisters damaged buildings in Louisiana and Alabama. The storm system headed from the Gulf Coast to New England has been blamed for three deaths and several injuries, though no one was killed outright in the tornadoes. The storms also left more than 100,000 without power for a across the South, darkening Christmas celebrations.
Severe thunderstorms were forecast for the Carolinas while a line of blizzard and winter storm warnings stretched from Arkansas up the Ohio River to New York and all the way to Maine.
In Central Florida, temperatures are expected hit highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-40s by nighttime.
On Thursday, highs will be in the 60s with lows in the high 40s.
Lake Wind Advisories have been issued for all Central Florida counties.
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