Level 2 storm risk will start off Memorial Day weekend, isolated tornadoes, wind damage possible

Posted January 19, 2022 10:00 a.m. EST
Updated May 26, 2022 2:16 p.m. EDT

— Thursday will be a dry, cloudy day ahead of a Level 2 storm risk to kick off Memorial Day weekend on Friday afternoon.

WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said temperatures will warm up into the low 80s by Thursday afternoon.

There could be some drizzle on Thursday, mainly from the Triangle northward, but the day will be dry overall. We'll see clouds thin out around lunchtime with the bulk of the rain staying out to our west.

Level 1 and Level 2 risk: Friday, May 27, 2022

"That sun is really trying to come out in most places," Gardner said. "The atmosphere will be stable enough so that we'll be dry this evening."

The weather will be mild and quiet for the Durham Bulls and Carolina Hurricanes games tonight. We'll climb into the lower 80s as the clouds clear out after noon.

Futurecast: Friday, 5 p.m.

However, WRAL meteorologists are looking ahead to Friday when much of the state, including the Triangle, could see severe storms. Isolated tornadoes and wind damage will be likely Friday afternoon and evening when a cold front swings through.

The entire viewing area is under a Level 2 risk for severe storms on Friday, and the timing could complicate those traveling for the holiday weekend. The same cluster of storms is moving northward from the gulf coast, where tornado watches were issued.

"The timeline on this could be such that you'd run into this as you're trying to travel," Gardner said.

The latest models show a line of storms coming through our western counties in the morning. Around 5 a.m., storms will start to hit our western counties. A more defined band moves through between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. with a higher possibility of being severe.

"Between noon and 5, 6 o' clock is when we'd have the best chance of severe storms, but we will have the Round 1 in the morning for our western counties and some of that could be strong," Gardner said.

Memorial Day weekend forecast

Friday is one of the busiest travel days for Memorial Day travelers on the roads, according to AAA, and congestion combined with severe weather expected during the morning commute could be a bad combination, Gardner said.

Drivers are encouraged to leave early in the morning if they can, before storms and traffic are at their worst.

Since the soil has been saturated since Monday in the Triangle, there is also a risk for flooding with Friday's rain. Up to 1 inch of rain could fall, creating a low risk for flash flooding if there are heavy downpours.

Temperatures will heat back up and reach a high of 83 degrees on Friday.

The weekend appears to be the driest portion of the week, with highs in the 80s and humidity dropping. There is a minimal chance for rain on Saturday and Sunday, so it will be a good weekend to get outdoors.

7-Day Forecast

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.