Forecasters say a heat wave that could deliver the warmest Christmas ever recorded to cities across the South may also fuel tornadoes and storms featuring golf ball-sized hail and damaging winds of up to 70 mph.
The National Weather Service projects that by Wednesday evening, the threat of severe weather will extend from Louisiana through Mississippi and Alabama and into Georgia.
The national Storm Prediction Center says the area of enhanced risk -- the bull's eye for Wednesday's storms -- covers the western half of Tennessee; northern Mississippi; much of northern Alabama and a sliver of southern Kentucky.
After the storm threat subsides, forecasters say the high temperature in Atlanta on Christmas Eve is expected to be 74. That would break the record for Dec. 24, which is 72 degrees set in 1984.