April 8: Severe Storms Late Today

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Today brings our first severe thunderstorm threat of the spring season, with the best chance moving in from the west around sunset. Between now and then, we’ll really warm up…highs will reach up to around 80° thanks to partial clearing and strong southwesterly winds:Those warm temperatures and increasing humidity will combine to build up a healthy level of instability (“storm fuel”) before the storms move in. The other ingredients on our severe weather “recipe card” will also be present as the storms move in this evening:So it’s just a matter of whether the amounts of those ingredients will line up for a more significant threat. (Just because you have flour, brown sugar and eggs doesn’t mean you’ll end up with good cookies, if the ratio of those ingredients is out of whack.) We can estimate that with a statistic called the “Supercell Composite Parameter” — anything over 3 indicates an elevated threat. The Storm Prediction Center’s forecast model estimates a 30%-50% chance that we hit that mark early this evening:That’s a decent chance, but we’re not locked into a severe thunderstorm outbreak. SPC has outlined an “Enhanced Risk” (level 3 of 5) of severe storms for the northern half of central North Carolina, with the rest of the area in a “Slight Risk” (level 2 of 5):That makes good sense to me — it reflects the heightened threat of severe storms, and our increasing confidence that the ingredients will be present in the right proportions. The HRRR model’s radar simulation from noon through midnight shows a few storms popping up late this afternoon, with the main event moving in around sunset:ANY of those storms could become severe, but the late afternoon storms would pose the greatest tornado threat — it’s a very low risk, but one that we can’t rule out. Just plan on staying weather-aware in case warnings are issued…we’ll pass those along right away on social media as well — links are at the bottom of this post.

The severe weather threat should diminish after midnight, but the rain will stick around much of the night and even into Tuesday morning. Back to the HRRR model, from midnight through noon tomorrow — it shows the rain diminishing after a wet start to the day:

But we’re not quite done with the storms just yet…more scattered storms, some of which could be strong, will develop south of the Triangle Tuesday afternoon. Tomorrow’s severe weather risk is lower, but not zero — the SPC has outlined a “Marginal Risk” (level 1 of 5) for our southern counties, thanks to those afternoon storms:

Once this whole storm system moves through, we get to enjoy a couple of dry and pleasant days…before the next chance of rain moves in on Friday:Friday’s storms could pose a borderline severe weather risk as well, but it’s a little too early for much confidence in that part of the forecast right now. We’ll keep you updated through the rest of the week!



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