published Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Strong storms coming, hail and tornadoes possible in Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Although the greater threat of severe storms in Tennessee was yet to come, tornado warnings were being issued by midmorning today as storms developed east of Nashville.

The National Weather Service issued a warning for the Cookeville area as a funnel cloud was indicated by radar. There was no immediate indication of a touchdown. Another warning came because of a radar signature over Franklin County near the Alabama border.

Many school systems in the central part of the state either did not meet on Friday because of the weather threat or cancelled classes at noon. A mild winter meant planned snow days had gone unused.

NWS said near-record high temperatures Friday afternoon and moisture-rich Gulf air will collide with an approaching cold front and thunderstorms will intensify.

The most dangerous tornado risk area, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, is expected to be from Middle and East Tennessee, northward across Kentucky to the Ohio River. NWS said a few long track tornadoes are possible.

Temperature and winds will increase across Friday and the cold front will move through, triggering storms from about noon near the western Tennessee River Valley through mid-evening farther east.

Strong wind and heavy rain was likely up the valley between Chattanooga and the Tri-cities.

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