(Bloomberg) -- The operator of the sprawling central US grid warned that southern states face tornadoes, high wind and lightning that could threaten electricity infrastructure. 

The Midcontinental Independent System Operator issued a severe weather alert for the network it oversees in Louisiana, Mississippi, and East Texas through 5 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, according to its website. The grid operator, which serves 45 million people from the Gulf Coast to southern Canada, asked transmission and power plant operators to determine if any maintenance can be canceled during the storm. 

A developing storm system is moving across the central US, bringing heavy rain and high winds, said Marc Chenard, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. The biggest severe weather risk is in northern Louisiana, parts of Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee with the potential of large hail, strong winds and possibly even tornadoes, he said. 

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