Potential for severe weather Thursday

Posted December 10, 2008 6:53 a.m. EST
Updated December 10, 2008 11:57 p.m. EST

— Bands of light to moderate rain were moving through central North Carolina early Thursday. Conditions are expected to worsen by mid-afternoon.

Conditions felt more like spring, with temperatures in the low 70s Wednesday, while a cold front with rain and some embedded thunderstorms worked its way east.

The potential for severe weather increases Thursday as cold air behind the front and warm air in front of it makes the atmosphere unstable, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

“We have a very wild and woolly 24 hours coming up," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Some areas could see up to three inches of rain by Thursday evening, Fishel said. Flash flood watches are also in effect for several counties.

Moderate to heavy rain and thunderstorms blanketed cenral North Carolina late Wednesday.

The system is expected to stall over the Triangle into Thursday. The brunt of the storm will probably hit late Thursday and could be severe.

"Isolated tornadoes are not out of the question, but there's a much better chance of damaging, straight-line winds," Gardner added.

"The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., the National Weather Service in Raleigh and the WRAL WeatherCenter are concerned about Thursday's potential for strong storms," Fishel said.

The impact of the system should be felt across central North Carolina by midday Thursday, with the threat of severe storms over the area through the afternoon and early evening, WRAL Meteorologist Kim Deaner said.

This weekend will be sunny and pleasantly cool, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s. Morning lows will be back below freezing, however.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual again next week, WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.