(NEW YORK) — Bad weather is threatening to put Halloween on hold across much of the country’s midsection.
Eight states from Texas to Illinois are under flood watches and warnings Thursday. The heaviest rain is expected from Houston to Memphis, Tenn., where over 3 inches of rain can fall. Chicago, meanwhile, is forecast to have the wettest Halloween in 19 years, with up to 2 inches of rain expected.
The biggest threat, however, is damaging winds, which could reach up to 70 miles per hour in some areas.
As a result, parts of Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky are postponing Halloween.
In all, the severe weather will impact about 53 million people from Houston and New Orleans to Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis; St. Louis; Nashville, Tenn.; Louisville, Ken.; Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Tal Kopan and Evan Perez, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN