August 13: Severe Storms This Evening



It seems like this has been an awfully active summer for severe weather in central North Carolina, and more severe storms are in the forecast late today. Before those storms develop, today’s other big story is the oppressive heat and humidity. High temperatures will reach well into the 90s this afternoon:Dew points will be in the low 70s all day, which is flat-out gross:That humidity will push the heat index into triple digit territory — not quite high enough for a Heat Advisory, but still potentially dangerous:

An isolated storm could pop at any point this afternoon, but the threat of more-widespread and stronger storms will hold off until late this afternoon and this evening:The HRRR model’s radar simulation from noon today through 6:00am tomorrow shows widespread storms along the Virginia state line by early evening, progressing steadily southward later this evening and well into tonight:Keep in mind, that’s one version of one forecast model — those models are guidance, not gospel. They give us a good idea of the overall pattern, but the atmosphere will do what it wants. That means the storms could be a little faster or slower to develop, a little faster or slower to move, a bit farther north or south…you get the idea. Because we’re going to build up so much heat during the day, the atmosphere will still support the possibility of severe storms even after the sun goes down. The Storm Prediction Center’s outlook indicates an elevated severe weather threat — a “Slight Risk” (level 2 of 5) for almost all of central North Carolina:Damaging winds will be the primary threat from any severe storms, but every storm will be capable of producing frequent cloud-to-ground lightning and some heavy downpours:The hail and tornado threats won’t be zero, but they aren’t the main risks this time around. Have a source of weather information handy in case some warnings are issued, and just generally stay weather-aware.

The storms will diminish by early Wednesday morning, and a break from the rain will allow the August sunshine to peek through and warm us up again:That will re-charge the atmosphere for another round of storms, especially from the Triangle to the east and south. Wednesday’s North American Model simulation from noon through midnight shows widespread storms developing again:But not all of the model guidance is convinced that those storms will fire up again. The behavior of tomorrow’s storms depends in large part on the behavior of tonight’s storms, which leaves tomorrow’s forecast with a high degree of uncertainty. The severe threat looks much lower either way — a Marginal Risk (the SPC’s lowest category) along and east of I-95:

The decaying cold front responsible for this whole mess will die out just off to our southeast. That’s close enough for a continuing chance of storms through the end of the week and into the weekend, but it’s a progressively lower chance each day as that front slowly loses its influence:


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