A widespread area of East Tennessee, including the Chattanooga area, was placed under a tornado watch until 2 a.m. A later warning was for severe thunderstorms.
Some Chattanooga area school systems closed early in anticipation of the severe weather arriving
Bledsoe County Schools and Sequatchie County Schools were among those sending students home early.
Bradley County Schools is cancelling after-school activities for students, including the YMCA and Big City University. A school board meeting will be held as scheduled.
EPB is preparing for the potential of severe weather impacting its electric and Fiber Optic systems. Officials said, "We are keeping in close contact with National Weather Service and Emergency Management officials as the storms approach. All of our field crews are being held over into the evening so they are ready to respond to any problems that may arise. Technicians are checking to make sure sensors and other automated devices that make our Smart Grid work are functioning properly and optimally."
AccuWeather reports thunderstorms Thursday, some which can be severe at the local level, will reach from part of the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast and southern Atlantic Seaboard.
The storms will bring isolated incidents where lives and property are threatened. A more general, but less critical concern is the potential for travel disruptions and foiled plans. As the storms pass through, they can halt incoming and departing flights for a time at major airports and smaller connecting hubs.
The greatest potential with the storms is for damaging wind gusts, large hail, flash flooding and frequent lightning strikes.
However, a few of the strongest storms can produce a quick, spin-up tornado.
The storms are likely to down trees and cause sporadic power outages. Some roadways in urban and rural locations could be overwhelmed with water.
As cooler air collapses southward in the mid-Atlantic and colder air crosses the Mississippi River, the risk for severe thunderstorms Thursday will reach from Pittsburgh, Pa., to New Orleans, La., Mobile, Ala., and Augusta, Ga.
Other major metro areas that could be impacted by one or more storms Thursday into Thursday night include Charleston, W.Va., Cincinnati, Ohio, London, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Columbia, S.C., Birmingham, Ala., and Tallahassee, Fla.
If the southward push of cool air is delayed along the mid-Atlantic coast, strong to locally severe thunderstorms could also affect Raleigh, N.C., Richmond, Va., Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Md., and Dover, Del., Thursday night.
EPB is preparing for the potential of severe weather impacting the electric and Fiber Optic systems. They are keeping in contact with National Weather Service and Emergency Management officials as the storms approach. All of their field crews are being held over into the evening so they are ready to respond to any problems that may arise. Technicians are checking to make sure sensors and other automated devices that make the Smart Grid work are functioning properly and optimally.