Tornadoes a threat before dawn Tuesday

Posted April 4, 2011 8:38 a.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2011 3:31 a.m. EDT

— A swath of counties across North Carolina's mid-section were under tornado watches early Tuesday on the leading edge of a front moving through the state before dawn. A watch means conditions are right for tornadoes to form, but none have been spotted or radar or with the naked eye.

The front brings with it the possibility of isolated tornadoes and damaging winds, according to WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel. The weather system left trees downed and wind and lightning damage throughout the southeast, but had weakened slightly as it moved toward the Carolinas, Fishel said. 

"We probably won't see anything arrive here until after 5 a.m. (Tuesday)," said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze. "When the threat gets here, it will be more in the way of damaging wind gusts than tornadoes."

Rain is just about a guarantee Tuesday morning, and some parts of central North Carolina could see as much as an inch of rainfall before the front is past. 

The chance for intense thunderstorms in central North Carolina will diminish by lunchtime Tuesday, leaving the rest of the day cloudy and breezy with a high of 64 degrees.

Monday was humid, windy and full of sunshine. Winds will not die down after the sun goes down. 

The wind is expected to “roar all night” long, Fishel said.

Temperatures will continue to increase as the week goes on, with a high of 68 Wednesday, 75 Thursday, 80 Friday and 84 Saturday and Sunday.

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