Fishel: Huge swath of storms packs 80-mph punch

Posted June 13, 2013

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— 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.


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  • caryzoo Jun 13, 2013

    I am very sorry for any problems people have suffered. However, we did know about this possibility since yesterday.
    I live in Cary, the winds were so strong I saw pine trees in my neighborhood bend over and touch the ground. I live near the mall. LOTS of big old trees. It was scary. My son lives in Fuquay-Varina. He was frightened, it almost took some trees down...almost, they are tilted sideways with roots exposed.
    I agree that since the merger they are not as open or honest about power up times. Personal opinion only...Duke is not as good (honest and open) as Progress used to be. Again, my opinion only, Duke should take serious lessons from Progress, they knew how to do things. Duke does not.

  • klapa Jun 13, 2013

    @Made In USA - yea, I was sitting on my deck with my two dogs after coming home from work. It was about 95F with sunny sky. The black clouds appeared in like a MINUTE. The wind for about five minutes after that. Much more wind than rain - but it WAS like what I would think a tornado would be like.

    After it has all stopped - it is maybe 65F.

  • Made In USA Jun 13, 2013

    This storm was like a 15 minute hurricane.

  • John Q Public Jun 13, 2013

    We lost quite a few shingles here in Cary. That was wicked scary. Tiny trees were bending at a 90 degree angle.

  • 11of10 Jun 13, 2013

    It was much easier to get estimated power up times before the Duke/Progress Energy Merger. We called at 4:50 and were told no one else were without power...duh, sonmeone has to be first to call.
    An hour later my neighbor call and got the same response.

  • Made In USA Jun 13, 2013

    Cary got hit hard with high winds earlier. They came when the black clouds got at about a 10 o'clock angle in the sky. Reminded me of a tornado they were so strong.

  • C6-YA Jun 13, 2013

    Same here maddog69.. just a little wind hardly any rain at all.

  • maddog69 Jun 13, 2013

    I am in N Raleigh and we literally had a brisk breezed. I didn't even hear any thunder. It came and went without anything. I guess we were lucky.

  • alisonoverton84 Jun 13, 2013

    about an hour ago a gigantic tree toppled over cars at intersection of Beechridge and Glenwood. don't travel Glenwood towards 5 points as the entire street is blocked off with flares!

  • boolittlek Jun 13, 2013

    Why would you assume they would quit reporting, DaddysAngel27? Even if you can't view the television coverage, they have continued to update the website with storm reports from across the area.