Tornado hits Georgia as rain, hail pelts Southeast

Forecast map Wednesday evening

The weather service said strong storms were possible from Alabama to the Carolinas.

The increased risk for tornadoes is happening in a year that's already seen an exceptional number of tornadoes, almost twice what it usually is by early April.

Strong to severe storms could arrive anytime after 4 p.m. until midnight.

The main threat for any severe storms will exist between 3 a.m. and noon, and a few waves of strong and severe storms may roll through the area during that time.

Periods of heavy rain may add about an inch of rain on already soaked grounds from the early-week heavy rain event. There's also a chance for isolated tornadoes and hail, National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Sena told CNN. These areas have the highest risk of severe weather today.

The outbreak of severe weather was the second to hit the South in less than a week.

The National Weather Service is calling for thunderstorms, high winds, hail and possible tornadoes on Wednesday.

An unstable atmosphere and Wednesday morning's clear skies allowed more heat to build up ahead of a front, increasing the probability of severe storms and prompting a number of tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings across the region. The University of SC canceled afternoon classes Wednesday at its main campus in Columbia.

Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and SC faced a heightened chance of tornadoes and potential flash flooding during the day.

Storms and possible tornadoes passing through eastern Georgia caused officials shut down the course about 10 a.m. Patrons were evacuated because of the stormy weather.

A higher risk for heavy storms capable of creating tornadoes may stay more to the north and west, said Tim Barry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

"It's a 2015. I just made a $550 payment this morning", Copeland said.

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System spokeswoman Sheila Blanco said all SCCPSS schools dismissed at the regularly scheduled time, but all after-school activities and athletic events were canceled.

"Accurate and timely reports of severe weather, by trained individuals, not only helps our office, but can save lives in the local community". Because of the potential hazard to school buses on roadways in the morning, however, school officials chose to cancel classes on Thursday.