Severe weather, including tornadoes, is expected in the Midwest and South

People across much of the Ohio Valley braced for severe weather, including thunderstorms and tornadoes, during Tuesday afternoon and evening, the National Weather Service announced.

Ohio and Kentucky, and parts of Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia are likely to be affected, officials said. Forecasters have predicted several tornadoes, damaging winds that could reach hurricane levels and even baseball-sized hail.

More than 3.6 million people were under tornado watch By early Tuesday afternoon, most of them were around Nashville, according to weather officials. Several Tennessee schools were closed or students were sent home early Tuesday, and some canceled after-school activities. according to local media reports.

Parts of Kentucky and Tennessee were under a tornado watch until 3 p.m. local time. according to the Louisville office of the National Weather Service. Likely conditions in those areas include several tornadoes, hail up to the size of ping pong balls and wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour. Parts of western West Virginia they were also under a tornado watch on Tuesday, according to weather officials there.

Flooding was also possible during the evening, said the forecasters.

Meteorological officials encouraged people live in areas where a tornado watch has escalated to a tornado warning to move to a safe place, “ideally a basement or interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building”.

The severe weather is part of a powerful storm system that has been moving east after hitting parts of Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas on Monday night. About 24 million people faced an increased risk of severe weather on Monday, according to the weather service.

Forecasters faced an outage on Monday that affected a key part of the nation’s weather monitoring system, potentially making it harder for them to warn people of severe weather. Service was back to normal by 6:30 a.m. ET Tuesday.

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