Tornadoes possible in South as major storm moves toward Midwest, Northeast

PHOTO: A Muscle Shoals police vehicle pushes through flood waters that cover Melissa Drive in Nathan Estates helping those who need to be evacuated, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in Muscle Shoals, Ala. PlayAP
WATCH More than 140 million Americans subject to dangerous weather alerts this weekend

Nearly 140 million Americans from the Rockies to the Northeast are under alert for dangerous weather this weekend due to a powerful storm taking shape in the central U.S. on Saturday.

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Dangers include a severe weather outbreak and flash flood threat across the South; near blizzard conditions from the Plains to the Upper Midwest; and strong, damaging winds from Texas to the Northeast.

The complex system brought 3 to 4 feet of snow in Arizona and over 7 inches of rain in Alabama. As of early Saturday morning, Nashville, Tennessee, had recorded 11.5 inches of rain, making it the second-wettest February on record.

PHOTO: At least 140 million Americans are under alert over the weekend. ABC News
At least 140 million Americans are under alert over the weekend.

The storm system was bringing snow across the High Plains in New Mexico and Colorado on Saturday morning, as well as snow across parts of the Upper Midwest. High resolution forecast models are showing that locally 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall across parts of Tennessee and Mississippi during the morning hours of Saturday.

The storm will intensify and organize Saturday as it quickly slides off to the east. While blizzard conditions will spread across the Plains and into parts of the Midwest, the greatest concern will be a developing severe weather outbreak in the South. Models show supercells developing sometime during the early afternoon hours across the Mississippi River Valley.

Those supercells will head east, likely becoming quite intense during the early evening hours as they move into parts of northern Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

PHOTO: Severe storms are possible in the South, while snow will fall in the Upper Midwest on Saturday evening. ABC News
Severe storms are possible in the South, while snow will fall in the Upper Midwest on Saturday evening.

There is a moderate risk for severe weather across northern Mississippi, southern Tennessee and western Alabama. In the moderate risk region there is the potential for dangerous tornadoes. Additionally, strong damaging winds will be likely across the entire region from Louisiana to Kentucky. Widespread wind damage is likely in this region.

This region has already seen a very wet week and additional rainfall will exacerbate flooding in the region. Flash flooding and river flooding is likely across parts of the southern U.S. through the weekend.

PHOTO: Strong tornadoes are possible in northern Mississippi and western Tennessee on Saturday. ABC News
Strong tornadoes are possible in northern Mississippi and western Tennessee on Saturday.

The storm will move into the Great Lakes and Northeast on Sunday with heavy rain heading for the Interstate 95 corridor, with some mixing for interior New England and some snow across Michigan and Wisconsin.

However, as the storm rapidly intensifies, powerful winds will slide in behind it and spread across the Midwest and into parts of the Northeast. Wind gusts of 45 to 60 mph are possible on Sunday for a large part of the region. These wind gusts will be strong enough to cause power outages and down trees. These high winds will spread into the Northeast on Sunday evening.

PHOTO: Snow is possible in the Upper Midwest through Sunday morning and the Northeast will see heavy rain. ABC News
Snow is possible in the Upper Midwest through Sunday morning and the Northeast will see heavy rain.

By Sunday night, the storm will have dumped locally 4 to 6 inches of rain across parts of the South and locally over 6 inches of snow across parts of the Midwest.

PHOTO: Over 6 inches of snow is possible in parts of the Plains, while northern Mississippi, Tennessee and southeast Kentucky could see 2 to 4 inches of rain. ABC News
Over 6 inches of snow is possible in parts of the Plains, while northern Mississippi, Tennessee and southeast Kentucky could see 2 to 4 inches of rain.
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