Weather

Cold front could produce strong storms Saturday

Posted March 22, 2012 9:15 a.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2012 1:48 p.m. EDT

— A low pressure system hovering over the Midwest will move into the state on Saturday, bringing with it an elevated risk for severe thunderstorms, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

The front will make its way into western North Carolina in the early morning hours, bringing showers and storms to the Triangle as early as 10 a.m.

“We’re already at an elevated risk for severe weather on Saturday,” Gardner said. “We’ll see this system, which is very slow moving, start to make its way into the area in the early morning hours."

The large front could also impact the state throughout the weekend, Gardner said. 

"More of that low rotates back into North Carolina on Sunday, producing some showers again," she said.

Ahead of the front, most of the area should see partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 70s to low 80s Thursday and Friday. Patchy fog impacted Thursday's commute, but moved out of the Triangle by 9 a.m. 

Temperatures will climb into the mid-70s by lunchtime and and close to 80 by mid-afternoon, still 10 to 15 degrees above normal for late March. The Triangle has seen temperatures above average 17 days this month, with that trend expected to continue, Gardner said.

Widely scattered thundershowers have been flaring up Thursday afternoon, but they will be few and far between compared to the weekend forecast. 

The storms are "developing in a 'summer-like' pattern, popping up here and there, mostly along the coast," Gardner said. Storms could continue to develop through Thursday afternoon, but they will have mostly died out by 8 p.m.

The chance of storms on Friday afternoon can't be ruled out completely, Gardner said, but it should be fairly dry for most of the area.

High temperatures will drop over the weekend, with Saturday’s high topping out in the mid-70s. Sunday’s high will be in the low 70s.