Fishel: Huge swath of storms packs 80-mph punch
Posted June 13, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The National Weather Service said thunderstorms approaching the Triangle Thursday could be "particularly dangerous" in issuing a severe thunderstorm watch for much of central North Carolina.
"These are the kind of storms that make you sit up and pay attention," said WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson.
A line of thunderstorms was moving rapidly into central North Carolina from the north and west by late afternoon, with the worst of the weather expected over Raleigh at about 6 p.m.
"This won't be so much a tornado threat as it will be a huge swath of thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds," said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.
The massive line of storms was packing large hail and damaging straight-line winds with gusts in excess of 80 mph,' Fishel said.
The same system recorded winds topping 70 mph in Ohio and more than two dozen tornado warnings were issued as two rounds of storms pummeled that state, said Phillip Johnson, who was part of the team monitoring developments for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
The Triangle had warmed to 96 degrees by 2 p.m., and and heat index values could top the 100-degree mark in spots by 4 p.m.
The warm, humid air will begin combining with moisture from the system in the mountains and Piedmont during the early afternoon, Johnson said.
"These storms will probably start out as individual cells and then organize into a large line of storms that will move through the Triangle during the late afternoon and evening," he said. "That's when we have the greatest risk for widespread damage from straight-line winds."
Individual severe storms could also produce isolated tornadoes, Johnson said. The entire state is under an elevated risk for severe weather.
Large rainfall amounts aren't likely with Thursday's storms, so areas inundated with precipitation by Tropical Storm Andrea and the rain showers earlier in the week shouldn't see additional flooding.
By 11 p.m., cool, dry air should be filtering into the area behind a cold front.
Friday's highs will top out in the low 80s under partly cloudy skies, and weekend temps will stay in the mid-to upper 80s.