Thunderstorms could become severe Saturday afternoon

Posted March 23, 2012 3:17 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2012 6:49 p.m. EDT

— A low pressure system moving into the southeast from the plains will combine with warm temperatures Saturday to bring rain and the chance for severe thunderstorms, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. 

Clouds increased Friday night, and the leading edge of the storm brought showers and isolated thunderstorms to parts of the area overnight. Rain chances will linger throughout the morning Saturday, with the greatest chance for severe weather coming during the afternoon. 

"What we see will vary across the region," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said. "Some folks will see heavy rain while others stay dry, but right now our best chances for thunderstorms will be during the afternoon hours."

High temperatures will climb into the mid-to-upper 70s by 4 p.m. That daytime heating will help fuel any thunderstorms that do develop.

At the warmest part of the day, storms could reach severe status and the greatest threat is for damaging straight-line winds and possible hail. The greatest chance for storms to be severe in the Triangle will be during the late afternoon and evening hours, Moss said.

"There is some uncertainty as to how the storm threat will play out," Fishel said. "It looks like from the Triangle area south and east is where the best chance of strong to severe thunderstorms will be."

Rain chances will linger throughout central North Carolina Sunday, but there won't be any severe weather as the low pressure system moves directly over the state. High temperatures will be a bit cooler, topping out in the low 70s across much of the area. 

Temperatures will climb back into the mid-70s Monday as partly cloudy skies return to the forecast, but by Tuesday, much of the area will see high temperatures back near late March averages. 

"It's going to be cooler Tuesday," Moss said. "Most of the area will see lows in the 40s and we'll top out around 62 that afternoon."