Weather

Windy Wednesday could whip up storms, isolated tornadoes

Posted January 29, 2013

— After more than a week-long cold snap, sunshine and 70-degree weather brought spring-like conditions back to the Triangle Tuesday, but an approaching cold front could whip up strong to severe thunderstorms and isolated tornadoes on Wednesday.

"Ninety-six hours ago, we were in the 20s with ice and here we are with sunshine and temperatures in the 70s," said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel. "It's going to be even warmer tomorrow, but there is going to be a bit of a price to pay."

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for most central North Carolina counties, including Wake, Durham and Orange, from noon Wednesday to 4 a.m. Friday.

Winds could gust up to 45 or 50 mph during the day, and could be even higher inside any thunderstorms that form late Wednesday and early Thursday.

"The atmosphere is not going to be all that unstable, but the wind field is going to be incredible," Fishel said. "It is going to be a hold-on-to-your-hat day, no question about it."

Central North Carolina won't see any records fall during the brief midweek warm-up, but the quick blast of warm, muggy air is a stark contrast to the recent cold snap that included two separate instances of wintry weather.

The sun was out across central North Carolina for much of the day Tuesday, and temperatures topped out in Raleigh at 70 degrees, some 20 degrees warmer than normal.

The warm air will linger overnight and into the day Wednesday, but a strong cold front will usher in windy conditions, clouds and eventually thunderstorms that could turn severe during the late evening hours. 

"We are in an elevated risk area tomorrow for the chance of severe thunderstorms and maybe some isolated tornadoes tomorrow evening as the frontal system begins to approach," Fishel said. "Obviously, we have a lot to keep an eye on tomorrow, especially late in the day and at night." 

The storms should clear out quickly as the front pushes east of the Triangle. That clearing will allow cool air to filter back into the area for the latter half of the work week and weekend. 

Highs will top out near 50 degrees Thursday, Friday and Saturday under mostly sunny skies, and overnight lows will return to the low 30s and even upper 20s.

10 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Skywatch_NC Jan 30, 9:04 a.m.

    All tornadoes are "isolated".

    That's true. The NWS says isolated though in those cases where a tornado threat is not a big main prime threat.

  • Dnut Jan 29, 6:37 p.m.

    If "THE FISH" and weather crew were not on 5, I wouldn't watch or read this rag.....

  • patriotsrevenge Jan 29, 6:06 p.m.

    All tornadoes are "isolated".

  • Skywatch_NC Jan 29, 4:07 p.m.

    NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED WEDNESDAY
    AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING. LOCALLY DAMAGING WIND GUSTS
    MAY ACCOMPANY THE HEAVIER SHOWERS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
    AN ISOLATED TORNADO MAY ALSO BE POSSIBLE...MAINLY WEST OF HIGHWAY
    1.

  • Skywatch_NC Jan 29, 3:47 p.m.

    Don't be so smart. Can you do any better predicting the weather? I think they do a great JOB.

    I agree, they do. Just saying though don't discount like mid to late afternoon when some convection could fire up way out ahead of the frontal boundary.

  • msha Jan 29, 2:45 p.m.

    Don't be so smart. Can you do any better predicting the weather?
    I think they do a great JOB.

  • Skywatch_NC Jan 29, 9:39 a.m.

    WRAL says the best chance for any svr weather will come after the evening commute. But according to the NWS ...

    IN ADDITION...SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE
    EXPECTED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...FOLLOWED BY THE PASSAGE OF A COLD FRONT AND ACCOMPANYING LINE OF HEAVY DOWNPOURS WEDNESDAY EVENING. LOCALLY ENHANCED WIND GUSTS...SOME OF WHICH MAY EXCEED SEVERE LIMITS OF 58 MPH...CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THESE SHOWERS AND PARTICULARLY IN ANY ISOLATED THUNDERSTORM. WHILE A LESSER AND MORE CONDITIONAL THREAT THAN THE AFOREMENTIONED STRAIGHT LINE WIND GUSTS...AN ISOLATED TORNADO WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE.

  • Reformed Liberal Jan 29, 9:31 a.m.

    July's forcast: Hot with brief periods of snow, fire and brimstone.

  • Shadow666 Jan 29, 9:11 a.m.

    We're doomed.

  • BigSteamnTurd Jan 29, 8:29 a.m.

    Cool!