WEATHER UPDATE: As I write this update, active tornado warnings are ongoing across the Deep South, where tornadoes touched down overnight. A powerful storm system is still expected to impact North Carolina today. I know there is a substantial amount of interest regarding this system. I know lots of people are nervous, but just know that no matter what happens, we will get through this. A vigorous low-pressure system and associated cold front will roll through the state today, bringing multiple hazards today and tonight. High winds, Severe Storms, Scattered Flash Flooding, and Coastal Flooding. I'll walk you through the threats below!
SEVERE WEATHER: There remains a Severe Weather threat; warm, moist air is now moving into the coast and will spread across Central and Eastern NC as the warm front pushes north. Temperatures along the southern coast are now in the 60s as I write this update, the temperature at Wilmington International Airport is 65° and just about 150 miles north 44° in Raleigh. The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of SE NC under a level 3/5 risk of Severe Weather for this afternoon and evening, basically from just south of Raleigh to Greenville to Fayetteville and Laurinburg. Charlotte to Raleigh to Elizabeth City are under a level 2/5 risk.
WHAT: Wind Shear is expected to be off the charts; any thunderstorms that do develop will bring the risk of damaging winds. Unfortunately, there appears to be a risk of tornadoes as well, thanks to the wind shear, which is the turning of the winds as you increase in height. Models are showing a squall line that will roll through the state, with the greatest chance of these storms turning severe from Raleigh point south and east. Storm Fuel was originally supposed to have lower CAPE values, but now models are showing higher CAPE values; the combination of higher CAPE values and wind shear could support Supercells that will form ahead of the main line of storms, and these storms could produce tornadoes. The favored area will be across the level 3/5 area, I'll be watching the trends across this area closely.
A powerful storm system will impact the state on Tuesday; I know many people are scared and worried. I understand, but folks, we've been through this before; there is no reason to panic. I am going to do my very best to walk you through everything below. A vigorous low-pressure system and associated cold front will roll through the state on Tuesday, bringing multiple hazards Tuesday and Tuesday night. High winds, Severe Storms, Scattered Flash Flooding, and Coastal Flooding. This is a springtime setup, but some Freezing rain is possible across the mountains tonight. As the high winds and severe weather are more concerning, I am going to focus on that.
Threats: The best chance for severe weather will be from Raleigh south and east to the coast; damaging winds and tornadoes are the main threats. Remember, not everyone will see a Tornado, but everyone will see gusty winds thanks to all the wind energy. The timing of Severe Weather will be between 2PM and 11PM.
This event appears to be higher than normal, and you should be aware of that and prepare for that. Will my house get hit? I can't answer that severe weather does not normally impact everyone, but we must be ready. Don't be that person on TV after the storm saying, well, I wasn't prepared because I didn't think it could impact me. Be prepared for any Severe weather it happens in NC, have emergency alerts enabled on your smartphone. Know a safe place in your home away from windows and outside walls on the lowest level or in a basement. Have helmets and shoes for everyone. If you're in a mobile home, have a place to evacuate to that is not In the mobile home.
WIND: Regardless of whether you see storms or not, the wind fields are going to be impressive, and gusty winds are likely. Wind gusts out of the south at 20-35MPH statewide will pick up this morning, increasing to 30-50MPH by afternoon, with areas along the coast and mountains having the potential of seeing wind gusts up to 65MPH. This kinda of wind will produce scattered power outages, down trees, and take down lawn furniture or other loose outdoor objects. Impacts to ferries and school schedules are likely today due to high winds.
RAIN: Rounds of showers will be likely throughout the day, with the heaviest rain rolling through the afternoon and evening; heavy rainfall is possible. 1-3" of rain likely will lead to flooding in some low-lying and flood-prone areas. Locally higher amounts are possible, especially across the mountains up to 5"
COASTAL FLOODING: Moderate to significant coastal flooding will be possible along the Outer Banks. Soundside flooding along the Outer Banks the Pamlico Sound including Pamlico/Pungo Rivers. Because Bay Rivers and Crystal Coast area with up to 2-4Ft of Storm Surge inundation will be possible. The highest threat is Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Lower threat of Storm Surge along the Southern Coast.
The Bottom Line: Today looks very active; it will not be the end of the world. Have ways to get alerts and hope for the threat to end up lower. However, I urge you, based on the data, to stay weather-aware and have a plan in place in case a warning is issued. Have devices charged and batteries on hand. We've dealt with this before, and we will get through Tuesday as well. I'll be passing along updates. Stay aware. Please have many ways to get warnings, the Red Cross Emergency App is a good one for alerts.