Weather

Rain, Storms Could Bring 'Trouble' to Triangle Friday

Posted March 6, 2008

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— The combination of a low-pressure system from the Gulf and a strong upper-level disturbance from Texas will likely bring rain, storms and high winds to central North Carolina late Friday.

"When you get both the vertical wind sheer and the high levels of instability (in the atmosphere), then you really get into trouble," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said on Thursday evening. "And that's what we're about here tomorrow night and into Saturday."

Clouds will start to move in Thursday night, and spotty rain could fall early Friday, but Fishel expected most of the rain to hold off until late morning and early afternoon Friday. The best chance of severe thunderstorms will come Friday night, he said.

"We have another potentially serious weather situation staring us in the face for tomorrow night," Fishel said. "We are going to have a wet conclusion to the week, another significant rainfall event ... that could be an even bigger event than what we had Tuesday."

Tuesday's storms dumped close to 2 inches of rain around the Triangle and raised the level of Falls Lake by more than 2 feet. The drought-parched lake serves as the primary water source for Raleigh and six other Wake County communities.

Fishel explained the factors that could make Friday's storm system more severe than the one that moved through the area Tuesday.

"This is a powerful, powerful system in the upper atmosphere, and not only are we going to have strong winds aloft this time, like we had Tuesday night, but this time, it looks like the atmosphere will be even more unstable," Fishel said.

As the system moves out Saturday, a "howling northwesterly wind flow" will move in, producing gusts topping out between 40 and 50 mph, Fishel predicted.

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