The day’s highest threat — 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 and the Alabama cities of Birmingham and Montgomery, according to the prediction center.
• Storms along an advancing cold front that will swing through the Southeast during the afternoon and night.
Wednesday’s greatest tornado potential is across southern Georgia, while damaging wind tastes are likely further north, across northern Alabama and Georgia into Tennessee.
2 killed Tuesday as strong storms and tornadoes rip the South
Wednesday’s weather comes after parts of the South dealt with a series of storms Monday and Tuesday that killed at least two people.
Suspected and confirmed twisters, as well as strong winds, downed trees and power lines across portions of these areas, as well as damaging homes and businesses across several states.
A man in East Texas was killed early Tuesday when a tree fell on an RV in the community of Whitehouse, the Smith County emergency management coordinator said.
Another person died in Bryan County, Georgia, as severe weather swept through the area, local officials said. The county, which is near Savannah, declared a state of emergency due to the impacts of a tornado and set a curfew through early Wednesday, officials said.
Tornado debris trapped several people in their homes in Bryan County, emergency officials said.
Mary Edwards was driving on Interstate 16 in Georgia not far from Savannah when she saw a tornado ahead Tuesday.
The twister appeared just minutes after Edwards received an alert on her phone for a tornado warning.
“To see it right before you, it’s humbling. It’s exciting, it’s majestic, and you really get that sense of mortality. You surrender,” she said.
In middle Georgia’s Houston County, Randell Petrie, his wife and dog hid in their home for about two minutes as a severe storm hit his neighborhood: “I hear the sound of a train and told my wife to get in the closet,” he said .
When the rain let up about 30 minutes later, he went outside and saw homes damaged from fallen trees, including at least one tree that crushed a roof and came to rest inside the building, he said. Some trees were uprooted; others were snapped, pictures from Petrie showed.
Correction: An earlier version of this story overstated the number of people under the day’s most severe weather threat level. About 13.6 million people live in the area with that threat level.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Sharif Paget, Sara Smart, Dave Alsup and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.