Gulf Coast at risk of severe storms ahead of holidays
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — More than 4 million people near the U.S. Gulf Coast will be at risk of severe storms just ahead of the holidays, forecasters said.
Damaging winds will be one of the main threats, along with the possibility of a few tornadoes, according to the national Storm Prediction Center.
The storms are expected to move through Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night.
Forecasters say the area most likely to see strong storms Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night includes the southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The region includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Louisiana; the Gulfport-Biloxi area in Mississippi; and the Mobile metropolitan area in Alabama.
In Birmingham, Alabama, city officials say they will open a warming station in an auditorium on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas to provide shelter for homeless people during the freezing temperatures expected during the holiday period. Low temperatures are expected to drop below 20 degrees (minus 6.7 Celsius) in the Birmingham area by early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
As the system moves east, severe storms will be possible in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas on Christmas Eve.
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