Thursday, April 24, 2014

1st major severe storm threat begins this weekend

The same slow-moving low pressure system that is expected to bring several rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms to the Carolinas next week is forecast to produce the nation's first major outbreak of severe weather this weekend.

One round of showers and storms is predicted to affect the South on Thursday evening. That area of precipitation also might trigger some severe storms Friday afternoon and evening in eastern North Carolina.

But the big event will take shape Saturday and Sunday.

A deep low pressure system is forecast to move very slowly across the Midwest both days. The center of that low is predicted to move -- at a snail's pace -- along a stationary front that will be struck in an east-west line across Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas.

Areas to the north of that front are in store for a lot of rain and chilly temperatures through the middle of next week. Areas to the south, like the Charlotte area, figure to get milder temperatures but several clusters of showers and potentially heavy thunderstorms.

Evan Myers, an Accu-Weather meteorologist, said Thursday that the first major tornado outbreak of the year is expected to develop Saturday in northern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and southwest Illinois. By Tuesday and Wednesday, that area will reach the Southeast.

"Indications are it will move slowly," Myers said.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma also is warning about severe weather caused by the slow-moving low. It is mentioning the chance of strong tornadoes this weekend in the Deep South and the Mississippi Valley.

By the time that precipitation area reaches the Southeast later next week (Tuesday and Wednesday, most likely), the nature of the threat is expected to change from tornadoes to a pattern of damaging wind gusts, hail and flash flooding.

Next week figures to be very interesting for the Carolinas.

Incidentally, meteorologists agree that once the low pressure system eventually wobbles off the East Coast late next week, a pattern of summer-like weather will take hold in the South. The week of May 5-11 could produce a lot of 80s in the Carolinas.