A very moist and energetic airmass will move into the Carolina’s Thursday, bringing with it the chance of scattered damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. A major severe weather outbreak is looking more and more likely in Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Tennessee Wednesday Night including strong tornadoes.
Locally here across Western North Carolina the system looks like it will move in during the late morning hours. Often times we talk about needing the sun to come out and warm things up for the severe weather event to come to fruition. This is not the case with this system, as it brings it’s own energy out ahead of it’s arrival. Any sunshine would allow for further destabilization for sure, but the chance of that look to be east of our area, along and East of I-77.
Winds will be gusty Thursday Morning even ahead of the line and clusters of storms. Winds will also turn with height, meaning that the winds change direction and/or wind speed according to height. That turning of the winds, coupled with the strong updrafts could produce a few isolated tornadoes. The highest chance of seeing any isolated tornado right now in the foothills is the area from Eastern Rutherford, North Central Cleveland, Western Lincoln, Southwestern Catawba, and Southeastern Burke Counties. The higher risks will be off to our east. That doesn’t mean that a quick spin up couldn’t occur anywhere though.
With all of the wind energy present from the surface and up into the troposphere you may experience wind damage even where tornadoes are not present. Straight line damaging winds can, and often do, create as much damage as a tornado, but over a much larger area. So before going to bed Wednesday Night drive some stakes into the front to hold those trampolines down. Move outdoor garbage cans inside. Take note and secure any outdoor deck furniture or yard furniture that you may have.
Back into the mountains of North Carolina there is less of a risk of severe weather because the lines and clusters of storms should pass through at their weakest point. That is due to what looks to be limited instability back over your area. That being said the threat is not zero there.
A few storms may redevelop Thursday Afternoon and evening in parts of the foothills. These should be weaker and move east quickly.
Recalling the points:
1) Severe Weather is becoming more likely across portions of Western NC.
2) The highest risk of severe weather will be along and south of I-85 and East of I-77.
3) Severe weather up to and including isolated tornadoes, scattered damaging winds, and isolated large hail is possible.
4) Thursday’s Timing is around sunrise in Southwest NC, mid morning in the rest of the NC mountains, late morning for the foothills, and early afternoon across the northwest Piedmont.
5) Secure outdoor furniture, trashcans, and anything that could be picked up by the wind and thrown downstream.
6) Localized flash flooding is possible but should be short lived.