April 19, 2019

Storms With 70+ MPH Winds Possible in Carolinas and Virginia on Friday

A moderate risk for severe weather exists across parts of the Carolinas and Virginia on Friday afternoon as squall lines capable of producing winds in excess of 70 MPH sweep across the region. It's been a long time since this part of the country has seen a moderate risk in an outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. Take today's severe weather threat seriously and make sure you've got a way to get warnings the moment they're issued.

Today is the final day of a three-day severe weather outbreak across the southern United States. And intense squall line is expected to develop along the cold front extending off the low that's caused all the trouble for the last couple of days.

Winds are ripping not too far above the surface, and it won't take much for a strong thunderstorm to mix those winds down to the surface. The Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate risk because of the chance for significant wind gusts in excess of 70 MPH, mainly across North Carolina and Virginia.

In addition to the risk for significant wind gusts, tornadoes and (to a lesser extent) large hail are also possible. The best chance for tornadoes is over central North Carolina.

Central parts of North Carolina and Virginia haven't seen a moderate risk for severe weather in an SPC outlook in a long, long time. Greensboro, N.C., hasn't been under a moderate risk since June 13, 2013. This is the first moderate risk in Raleigh, N.C., since February 24, 2016. You have to go back to September 2012 to find the last moderate risk in south-central Virginia.

This is all to say that today is a day where you have to take the weather extremely seriously. All of the severe weather we've seen in recent years occurred on days with a lower SPC outlook than the one we've got today. The dynamics are there to produce widespread and significant straight-line winds if storms are able to take full advantage of the environment available to them.

(I apologize for any errors or formatting glitches I missed. I had to write this post on my phone today. Technology!)

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.