Rare tornado 'outbreak' expected across southern US as experts warn of devastating 'life-threatening severe storms'

A RARE outbreak of twisters is expected to sweep across the southern US today as experts warn of devastating "life-threatening severe storms," affecting eight million Americans.

Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee were put under a tornado warning on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

Major cities in the eye of the terrifying storm include Memphis, Birmingham, Little Rock, and Jackson in where millions of people brace for the incoming tempest.

Speaking about the wild weather warning, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned:"A widespread/substantial severe weather event is expected to continue into Thursday from southern Virginia southward into Florida, and westward into portions of eastern Kentucky/eastern Tennessee.

"Along with potential for widespread damaging winds and hail, several tornadoes—a few of them likely to be strong—are anticipated," the NWS said.

The agency's Storm Center also warned that as storms gain traction on Wednesday afternoon across AL, LA, and MS it "could quickly become a supercell capable of producing strong tornadoes."

"Supercell thunderstorms are perhaps the most violent of all thunderstorm types, and are capable of producing damaging winds, large hail, and weak-to-violent tornadoes," NWS noted.

Elsewhere, part of Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri are also at risk.

On Thursday, tornadoes and two-inch hail are expected in Georgia into central North Carolina, The Storm Prediction Center said in a video briefing today.

"The threat for tornadoes and hail will extend into portions of the Ohio Valley," the center added.

Bad weather and supercell thunderstorms are also set for North Carolina and South Carolina on Thursday.

"Threats include tornadoes, a few of which may be significant, large to very large hail, and severe wind gusts," they added.

Cities at a "moderate risk" include Columbia and Raleigh, Charlotte, while places at a lower "enhanced risk" are Atlanta, Georgia and Norfolk, Virginia.

The center added: "There is also a threat for damaging wind gusts from strong thunderstorms across portions of the Southeast all the way to the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio River Valley.

"If you live in the affected areas, now is the time to make a severe weather plan."

The tornado news comes after "historic and crippling" Storm Xylia pummeled the central Rocky Mountain area of Colodado, Wyoming, and Nebraska with heavy snow and wind on Sunday.

The freezing weather led to airport and road closures, power outages, and even avalanche warnings in Colorado when the tempest hit the Rockies and western Plains.

Millions of Americans were put under on winter weather alerts and about 300,000 were under blizzard warnings by Sunday morning, while 32,000 were left without power, reported WSVN.

The tempest also caused violent twisters to touch down in parts of Texas on Saturday afternoon, before moving on towards the Rockies and intensifying.

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