Weather Alert Day: Severe storms likely today

5:00 PM Update: Sunday, January 22, 2017

Today remains a Weather Alert Day. So far storms have stayed out of the area, but a tornado watch has been issued for counties to our south. It may be extended north into our part of the Carolinas within the next few hours. What has not happened yet is the warm air that is necessary to give storms a burst of energy. The warm front is still very far south, in northern Florida, but is slowly creeping north. If the front doesn’t quite make it far enough north to us then we will have a much lesser tornado threat. As it is now, threats and timing remain the same: primarily strong straight line winds of 60+ mph and isolated tornadoes, starting around 6 PM south and west, moving northeast and exiting the area around 11 PM.

temp1This tornado watch does include Clarendon county and is valid until 10 PM tonight.

The risk areas remain relatively unchanged from earlier today. The southern half of the area (in red) remains the focus for the strongest storms and the ones most likely to have enough energy to rotate.

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9:30 AM Update: Sunday, January 22, 2017

WEATHER ALERT DAY: today is a Weather Alert Day due to the potential for strong and severe thunderstorms throughout the afternoon and evening. Although rain and storms will be ongoing for most of the early part of the day, the time period for the strongest storms to develop will be between 5-11 PM tonight. Most of our area remains in the “Enhanced” category this morning, which is category 3 out of 5, but the southern half of the area has been upgraded to “Moderate” this morning, which is category 4 of 5. The environment is becoming increasingly favorable to support numerous severe storms later today.

An additional concern will be timing. Most of the strongest storms will be happening after the sun sets. That means if there are any rotating storms, you won’t be able to see them. This is why it’s important to have multiple ways to receive weather warnings.

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Rain and storms this morning will help take some of the energy out of the atmosphere. There will still be a lot of energy leftover even after this early round uses some up, and we are still expecting strong and severe storms to develop this afternoon and evening, moving in from the west. The main hazard from strong or severe storms today remains 60+ mph straight line winds. However, the environment is looking more favorable to support rotating storms. We’ve seen that overnight and early this morning in south Georgia. While tornadoes are a secondary threat this afternoon and evening, if a storm is able to form on its own it will have an easier time rotating. This is the most favorable setup for widespread severe storms we have seen in the eastern Carolinas for over a year.

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The cold front associated with this strong system is a fast mover and will clear through the coast by midnight, at which point our storm threat will end.

Storms will be able to dump a lot of heavy rain in a short amount of time today and tonight. Rain totals are expected to be anywhere from 1-3″ areawide, with some higher amounts possible with training storms. Localized ponding on low lying roads is possible.

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It’s always a good idea to have multiple ways to get weather warnings, especially since it’s been awhile since we have seen widespread strong storms. One way to receive warnings is by downloading the WBTW Weather App in your App Store and get personalized, up to the minute information about weather in your location.

5:30 PM Update: Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tomorrow is a WEATHER ALERT DAY for the potential of strong to severe thunderstorms throughout the afternoon and evening.

A strong storm system will move through the Carolinas tomorrow. Rain and thunderstorms may develop early in the morning, from 6-9 AM, before the main round of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. That first round of storms may help take some energy out of the atmosphere, but there will still be a lot of energy left and the overall setup for at least strong storms is favorable. The first round of thunderstorms may produce high wind gusts as well as very heavy rain.

The main round of thunderstorms will develop in the late afternoon or early evening. Any storms that form will have the potential to become strong very quickly and produce 60+ mph wind gusts, which is the main threat for tomorrow’s storms. A lesser threat will be for rotating storms, but it is not zero. A storm that is able to form out on its own has the best chance of rotating, and there may be a few tornado warnings. The main line of thunderstorms will move from west to east tomorrow afternoon and evening and should be out of the area by midnight.

Storms will be able to dump a lot of heavy rain in a short amount of time tonight and tomorrow due to all the moisture in the air. Rain totals are expected to be anywhere from 1-3″ areawide, with some higher amounts possible with training storms. Localized ponding on low lying roads is possible, so be careful driving.

It’s always a good idea to have multiple ways to get weather warnings, especially since it’s been awhile since we have seen strong storms. One way to receive warnings is by downloading the WBTW Weather App in your App Store and get personalized, up to the minute information about weather in your location.

9:30 AM Update: Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tomorrow is a WEATHER ALERT DAY due to the threat for severe thunderstorms. Overnight the risk area was expanded and now includes all counties.

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A strong storm system will move through the Carolinas tomorrow. Rain will develop today areawide as well as a few thunderstorms, but the storms should be weak. Rain will continue overnight into tomorrow morning. As the storm system gets closer, there will be enough energy in the atmosphere to generate some strong to severe thunderstorms. Timing will be from 4 PM south/west to midnight north/east. The biggest hazard will be 60+ mph straight line wind gusts. Not all storms will be that strong, but some will be. Secondary but nonzero threats include hail and tornadoes. If a storm is able to get out ahead of the main line tomorrow, it will have a better chance of rotating. The heaviest rain and most coverage will be from 7-10 PM.

Heavy rain will be an additional hazard with anywhere from 1-3 inches expected areawide. Minor flooding and ponding on low lying roadways may be a concern with heavy downpours.

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Sunday is a WEATHER ALERT DAY due to the threat for severe thunderstorms. A strong storm system will slowly move toward the Carolinas this weekend. Rain will develop on Saturday, and there is a chance for some thunderstorms, but severe storms are not expected Saturday. Rain will continue Sunday, and it will become windy with a southwest wind at 15-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph. Severe thunderstorms are possible Sunday evening, with the most likely time between 6pm and midnight. The main threat with these storms will be damaging straight line winds. There will also be a small chance for hail and tornadoes. The storm system will move away on Monday, but it will still be windy and the chance for rain will continue, but thunderstorms are not expected on Monday.

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Heavy rain is possible with this system over the weekend. 1-3 inches of rain is possible Saturday through Monday in some locations. Minor flooding is possible with some of the heavier downpours.

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