April 21: Severe Storms Possible Again Tomorrow

The weather took a quick turn in a dangerous direction this afternoon!  A storm moving into Bedford county around 4pm managed to spin enough to prompt a tornado warning, and that storm did some damage to a school and motel in Shelbyville.
One of our viewers tweeted some spectacular video of the rotating storm.

For the rest of tonight, our severe weather potential will remain limited.  More showers and thunderstorms will continue to develop and head toward us in waves throughout the night, as shown by the HRRR model’s radar simulation through Saturday morning:

A little break from the highest rain chances looks to develop Saturday morning — but that would allow the atmosphere enough time to warm up and “recharge” for another round of strong to severe storms in the afternoon.  Let me be very clear: it’s FAR from certain that the break in the rain will actually occur…or that the atmosphere will warm up enough…or that the center of this storm system will follow a path conducive to a severe weather threat.  You get the idea — there are a lot of moving parts with this system, and a lot of different ways we could avoid a significant severe weather threat.  That’s obviously the best-case scenario.

The worst-case scenario is that we warm up enough for the atmosphere to become very unstable, and thunderstorms explosively develop around midday.  That’s being depicted by the RPM model in this series of images:

Because there are so many questions, ifs and what-ifs surrounding this system, the Storm Prediction Center has outlined a “Slight Risk” (level 2 of 5) for severe weather:

At this point I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to avoid the worst-case scenario in terms of the wind and hail threats…but I’m still concerned about localized flooding.  We’ll could another 2″-3″ of rain falling onto already-saturated ground:

Rather than bury you with additional meteorological mumbo-jumbo, let’s just stick to a simple list with some bits of advice…

– Re-think any outdoor plans Saturday, especially in the afternoon.
– If you HAVE to be outside, know where you can take cover if needed.
– Plan on staying weather-aware — it’s a forecast that could go either way.
– Have a way to stay informed if you’re on the go — for instance, the 4WARN mobile app!

– Freak out, or panic.  That doesn’t change anything, anyway.
– Re-arrange any activities that will be held indoors.  No need to do that.
– Try to cross water-covered roads.

Dan Thomas will be on bright and early Saturday morning with an update, and he’ll have a fresh blog post with updated data posted by mid-morning as well.

The second half of the weekend isn’t looking great either, but not from a damaging-weather perspective…just cool and showery throughout the day:

We’ll clear out and warm up Monday and Tuesday, before the forecast becomes a bit more unsettled late next week.

About paulheggen33

Morning meteorologist for WNCN-TV in Raleigh.
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