The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for South Mississippi until 3 a.m. Friday morning, officials said.
NWS in Slidell has upgraded the risk of severe weather to enhanced, up from slight, for South Mississippi and Louisiana on Thursday afternoon.
Isolated to scattered thunderstorms are expected to reach the Coast just after midnight.
The weather service today advises conditions are more favorable for straight-line winds and large hail. Tornadoes are possible ahead of the line of storms.
Flash flooding is not expected.
"The storms will be moving pretty quick," said weather service meteorologist Alek Krautmann on Wednesday. "Flooding does not look like a concern with this one, overall rainfall amounts will not be strong enough."
He said high winds will pick up Friday, dropping temperatures during the day and pushing overnight lows into the 30s.
Offshore winds are expected to be gale force, gusting up to 45 mph, with onshore winds near 20-25 mph. The weather service expects to issue a small-craft advisory Thursday through Friday night.
Saturday night is forecast to be the coldest in South Mississippi so far this winter, with much of the Coast in the upper 20s and areas along the beach hovering near 30.
Temperatures should start to rebound Sunday with lows in the 40s that night and Monday night.
The Salvation Army cold-weather shelter in Gulfport on Friday and Saturday.