The biggest threat of the day, a level 3 of 5, exists for about 13.6 million of those people, in parts of Alabama, Tennessee, far western North Carolina and Georgia, including the Atlanta area, according to the center of prediction.
Conditions for the Southeast will begin to deteriorate as storms develop as early as late morning, with storms becoming more consistent in the afternoon and continuing through tonight and early Thursday morning, the meteorologist for CNNRob Shackelford.
The storm system comes as parts of the region are still in recovery mode from recent back-to-back severe weather events, including treacherous tornadoes and thunderstorms.
Monday and Tuesday brought a double whammy of severe thunderstorms and dozens of tornado reports in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. — knocking down trees and power lines, as well as damaging homes and businesses.
Tuesday’s storms killed at least one person in Georgia and another in Texas, local officials said.
An East Texas man was killed when a tree fell on a recreational vehicle in the community of Whitehouse, the Smith County Emergency Management Coordinator said.
Another person was killed in Bryan County, Georgia, as severe weather swept through the area, local officials said. The county, which is close to Savannah, declared a state of emergency due to tornado impacts and put a curfew in place until early Wednesday, officials said.
An EF-2 tornado tore through Johnson County, Texas, south of Fort Worth on Monday night, the National Weather Service said. The NWS also confirmed an EF-1 tornado in Collin County and an EF-0 tornado in Johnson County.
A preliminary survey found that four EF-1 tornadoes hit Mississippi on Tuesday, the NWS said.
The storm’s path through the south
As the storm moves across the battered south, different areas will feel its effects at different times.
Beginning Wednesday around 10:30 a.m., the Atlanta metro area and the rest of Georgia can expect to see the strongest possibility for tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail, Shackelford said. These threats are expected to affect the state through midnight.
Later Wednesday, Nashville and parts of Alabama, including Montgomery and Birmingham, are also under the same triple threat from 1 to 11 p.m.
As for the Carolinas, the biggest threats are tornadoes and damaging winds, with less chance of hail compared to its neighboring states, although it cannot be ruled out.
Charleston, South Carolina can expect to see severe conditions from around 6 p.m. into early Thursday. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina may see severe storms around midnight, with improvements as of 7 a.m. Thursday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story exaggerated the number of people under the most severe weather threat level of the day. Around 13.6 million people live in the area with that level of threat.
CNN’s Robert Shackelford, Dave Alsup, Gene Norman, Rebekah Riess and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.