Severe weather could hit again Saturday

Posted March 27, 2009 8:19 p.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2009 9:37 a.m. EDT

— The quick succession of a warm front by a cold front will create the possibility of more severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across North Carolina Saturday.

Drier weather prevailed in the morning, and any sunshine that gets through will make the warm, humid air mass more unstable – creating the conditions for severe weather in the afternoon and night.

"Those thunderstorms are possibly capable of damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said.

Another significant danger will be straight-line winds, which can resemble and cause as much widespread damage as tornadoes. Straight-line winds, or downbursts, rush down face the sky, sometimes reaching speeds over 100 mph.

First, a warm front will pass quickly over North Carolina during Saturday afternoon. Strong southwesterly winds aloft could stir up severe storms.

"By early afternoon, the heavier showers and perhaps thunderstorms start to build back into the region. They stay with us on through the afternoon and evening," Moss said.

Next, a cold front that has delivered punishing storms throughout the South will move into North Carolina overnight. It could continue to spawn storms over central and eastern portions of the state through the early hours of Sunday morning.

"By Sunday morning, early in the day, that slight risk of severe weather is confined to easternmost sections of North Carolina," Moss said.

The severe weather will be out of the Triangle region by mid-morning, allowing drier but still cloudy weather to set in. The wind will also be strong after noon Sunday, with gusts up to 30 or 40 mph possible.