RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The 70s and 80s we have enjoyed in March are a nice break from the winter cold, but the warmth is also a sign the atmosphere is capable of producing severe weather on a large scale.
“Anytime we get a real quick change like that, especially when it involves a rapid increase in warmth and a rapid increase in humidity, that often leads to severe weather outbreaks when combined with that jet stream that is in place,” said Nick Petro, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Raleigh.
Even when severe weather isn’t as destructive as expected, the Carolinas can see the potential as storm systems arrive from the west.
“One of things that I like to do to mitigate or try to work against people’s complacency is say, ‘hey look, this storm produced this type of damage yesterday just to our west. You have to take this seriously because look at what it did a few hundred miles to our west,'” explained Petro.
So far this year, the National Weather Service in Raleigh has issued almost 200 severe thunderstorm warnings and 13 tornado warnings with three confirmed tornado touchdowns.
With April and May still to go, it is important to be prepared.
“That just goes back to reminding folks that we need to be prepared, so if you haven’t developed your storm kit, your storm plan, your safety plan for where you will go to seek shelter when bad weather strikes, you need to do that right now because we are in the midst of severe weather season,” Petro said.
March, April, and May are when we typically see most of our tornadoes in a year.