25 NC counties are under alert, including Wake, Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Chatham counties. Details
Published: 2014-02-20 06:54:00
Updated: 2014-02-20 13:08:25
Posted February 20, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Less than a week after snow and ice fell across all of central North Carolina, a powerful cold front could produce strong to severe thunderstorms on Friday as it races through the state.
A warm front was hovering over the area early Thursday, keeping the weather pattern unsettled and temperatures warm. Highs Thursday will once again be in the mid-60s, about 10 degrees above normal for late February.
"Despite the warm temperatures, we won't see the sunshine that we did on Wednesday," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "We will see cloudy skies throughout much of the day, and a stray sprinkle is possible in spots."
A front will begin pushing into the central part of North Carolina during the morning hours Friday, possibly creating a wet commute and setting up what could be a rocky afternoon.
The areas with the best chance for severe weather will be from Raleigh eastward toward the Interstate 95 corridor, Gardner said.
"The front won't really push through our area until after lunchtime, but we could end up with a squall line out ahead of the front, and that will be our best chance to see strong to severe storms," she said. "The biggest risk is probably going to be between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m."
A squall line could produce damaging straight-line winds and brief heavy downpours, and much of the state is under an elevated risk to see severe storms Friday.
"We won't end up with a lot of rain from Friday's system, but it will be one to watch during the middle part of the day," Gardner said.
Daytime highs Friday will once again be in the mid-60s.
Sunshine will return for the weekend, helping keep afternoon temperatures in the mid-60s. Overnight lows will dip slightly, however, falling back into the upper 30s to near 40 degrees.
Normal temperatures will arrive for the beginning of next week, as highs will return to the 50s Monday and Tuesday.