6:30 a.m. update: A trough of low pressure will move across central North Carolina during the morning and with it, some rain will be likely. Any rain should be ending around lunchtime.
10:00 p.m. update: The tornado threat is coming to an end and most of central North Carolina has been dropped from the Tornado Watch. A few lingering storms will continue into the night with a stronger storm possible.
7:15 p.m. update: Thunderstorms are moving across the rest of central North Carolina through 9 p.m. with the risk for damaging wind gusts and large hail.
An isolated tornado can’t be ruled out for areas like Franklin, Vance and Halifax counties.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It is a CBS 17 Weather Alert Day because strong and severe thunderstorms will be likely this afternoon and early evening. The biggest threats include damaging winds higher than 60 mph and a few tornadoes.
The Storm Prediction Center has most of central North Carolina at an enhanced risk of severe weather, which is a 3 on the 1-5 severe weather scale.
As of 12:45 p.m. the SPC dropped the “moderate risk,” a level 4, from its forecast.
At 4:45 p.m., a tornado watch was issued for a large swath of North Carolina counties – including Wake, Johnston, Durham and Cumberland.
Areas of central North Carolina including the Triangle were under a moderate risk for severe weather on Wednesday but that was downgraded to an enhanced risk overnight.
A warm front will lift through North Carolina early Thursday ahead of a cold front approaching from the west. The cold front will cross central NC in the afternoon and evening. This will help stir up winds from the south gusting 20-30 mph as temperatures top out near 70° Thursday afternoon.
Scattered thunderstorms will be likely in the afternoon and early evening hours with the main threats being widespread damaging winds and tornadoes.
The most likely timing of the storms is from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. but the highest chance of severe weather is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
After the severe weather threat passes late Thursday night, there will be lingering rain into Friday morning before drying out Friday night.
Due to the forecast, several school districts will be in remote-only instruction on Thursday.
Now is a good time to review your severe weather plan with your family. Have a way to get alerts to your phone.
Tornadoes (EF-2 or stronger) could develop anywhere in central North Carolina during the afternoon and evening hours.
If a tornado warning is issued on Thursday, take action and go to an interior room away from windows and on the lowest level of your home. A tornado watch means be prepared. This means conditions are favorable in the atmosphere for tornado development.
The CBS 17 Storm Team will continue to update the severe weather threat. Be sure to watch for updates.