NYC, Philadelphia in path of severe storms Tuesday

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By BRIAN LADA, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist

Severe storms are in the offing for the Northeast on Tuesday bringing the threat of damaging winds and flooding downpours.

Millions of people from Maine to West Virginia should be on alert as a cold front swinging into the region sparks severe storms on Tuesday afternoon.

This includes a section of the I-95 corridor from near Boston through Washington, D.C., and the I-81 corridor from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Harrisonburg, Virginia.

A dry and muggy morning will be followed up by a hot and humid afternoon on Tuesday, setting the stage for the development of severe weather. Some spots in eastern Virginia may even top out around the 100-degree mark before the storms blow through.

The first thunderstorms that develop on Tuesday are likely to be scattered over the region's interior, but will quickly coalesce into a line and march eastward toward the Atlantic Coast through the evening hours.

"The biggest threats with these storms will be torrential rain and gusty winds in excess of 60 mph," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee.

Vallee added that a tornado or two may touch down with the strongest storms that track over eastern Pennsylvania and southern New England.

Flash flooding may also occur as these storms move though, especially following the soaking rain that Bill dumped on the region over the past weekend.

RELATED: Interactive Radar | Severe Weather Center | Which Outdoor Activities Top the Charts for Lightning Perils?

Severe or not, thunderstorms that roll through the Northeast on Tuesday will be accompanied by frequent lightning.

With this week being recognized as Lightning Safety Week by the National Weather Service, it is a good time to review lightning safety tips.

16 PHOTOS
Crazy lightning photos - Lightning safety week
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NYC, Philadelphia in path of severe storms Tuesday
Fingers of lightning illuminate the sky as a summer storm packing high winds and heavy rains sweeps over downtown Denver late Thursday, June 4, 2015. Severe weather has hit in several locations along Colorado's Front Range during the day, prompting forecasters to issue tornado and flood warnings for the night ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The night sky in Schwangau, southern Germany, is illuminated by lightning during thunderstorms in the late evening of Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Southern Germany was hit by storms last night. ( Jonas Walzberg/dpa via AP)
A lightning bolt strikes down during a storm with the One World Trade Center tower, left, as a backdrop, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, a massive storm cloud packing high winds, hail and heavy rains sweeps over downtown Denver as lightning strikes on the horizon on Monday, July 7, 2014. After a daytime high that reached 100 degree, forecasters predict that heavy thunderstorms will envelop Colorado's Front Range communities through the night. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, a bolt of lightning strikes down over Acapulco, Mexico. The Pacific resort city is recovering from the pounding of Tropical Storm Manuel a few weeks ago, that left massive flooding, landslides, rockslides, collapsed bridges and stranding about 40,000 thousands tourists for days. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez)
A lightning illuminates the sky over the Malecon during a lightning storm in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Sept 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Lightning steaks across the sky behind the Young Meadows Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Ala., Monday, March 18, 2013. Strong storms moved across much of Alabama on Monday, bringing hail, high winds, and heavy rainfall as a cold front passed through the state. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In a Tuesday, May 1, 2012 photo, a double rainbow appears in the sky as lightning strikes during a severe thunderstorm in Hamilton, Ohio. Strong thunderstorms caused multiple lightening strikes in the area. (AP Photo/Steve Vaughn)
Lightning illuminates the sky above the Kibbie Dome and the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. The lightning storm could have sparked new fires in the area Sunday night. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Lightning reveals a large layer of dust in the sky Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 in Gilbert, Ariz. The dust storm swept through Pinal County and headed northeast, reaching Phoenix at about 6 p.m. It was the third major dust storm to hit the Phoenix metro area since last month. (AP Photo/Matt York)  
Lightning strikes the ground, South of Tyler, Texas on Saturday night, Feb. 14, 2009, as a line of storms crossed over East Texas. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)
A lightning strikes over the palm trees during a thunder storm in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, southern Turkey, late Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Kaan Soyturk)
The view from Malibu California as a early morning monsoon storm moving north up the coast created a huge lightning show that could be seen from Orange County to Santa Barbara County. Malibu California Friday August 15,2008. AP/Photo Gene Blevins
Lightning rolls across the sky of Tyler, Texas as powerful thunderstorms stretch across Texas to Tennessee on Monday night, Feb. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)
A lightning strikes over the city of Locarno, Switzerland, during a thunder storm late Sunday, Aug. 8, 2004. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)
Lightning bolts flash over downtown Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, Sept. 20, 2005. Up to 20,000 customers experienced power disruptions from an electrical storm that continued to hover over the region Tuesday morning, according to a Southern California Edison official. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)
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So far this year, the NWS has confirmed seven lightning related fatalities, four of which occurred during recreational activities.

Many lightning strikes are harmless and have very little effect on people and the environment, but it only takes one for tragedy to strike.

If you are outside and a storm is approaching, you should seek shelter and remain there until the storm has passed.

AccuWeather MinuteCast® can help you determine when a storm is approaching by giving you a precipitation forecast for your exact location down to the minute. However, people should keep in mind that lightning can strike before it starts raining.

Drier, less humid air will filter into the Northeast for Wednesday in the wake of the storms and passage of the associated cold front.

This will bring more favorable conditions for outdoor activities such as golf, fishing or hiking on Wednesday afternoon when compared to Tuesday afternoon.

However, this break in the stormy weather is expected to be short as thunderstorms rattle the Northeast once again on Thursday and Friday.

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