As we start Severe Weather Awareness Week across the Carolinas, we are tracking some active weather for tomorrow! I don't expect severe weather, but some rain and snow will move in for Tuesday... here's the timeline:
Tuesday 7am-3pm: Clouds increasing, isolated showers.
Tuesday 3pm-9pm: Showers become more widespread. Pockets of heavy rain and even a few rumbles of thunder possible.
Tuesday 9pm-midnight: Snow takes over near the TN border in western NC.
Wednesday midnight-6am: Snow comes down in earnest across the mountains, especially above 3,500 ft. Rain will taper off in the Upstate, and a few flurries or light snow could mix with rain briefly before we dry out.
Wednesday 6am-9am: Snow still falling in the mountains, slick roads in higher elevations, potentially some black ice in the northern Upstate too.
Up to 6-7 inches of snow will be possible in the high mountains by late Wednesday!
As for Severe Weather Awareness, this week we start with severe T-storms. We got a LOT of severe T-storm warnings starting in May and going through September. Below is some information from NWS GSP about the most common kinds of severe storms we get, what they are defined as, etc.! Don't forget about the state-wide tornado drill for tomorrow at 9am!
- The National Weather Service defines severe thunderstorms as those that produce hail the size of a quarter or larger...and or damaging wind gusts of 58 mph or more...also known as downbursts. Downbursts are the most common form of severe weather in the Carolinas.
- In fact...this part of the country is one of the most active for downbursts. This is especially true for Piedmont counties...which typically experience an event on 5 to 8 days per year. This illustrates the need for citizens in this part of the country to take severe weather preparation seriously. Most downbursts occur from may through august...with a peak in July.
- It is important to understand that severe thunderstorms come in many different shapes and sizes. The majority of severe thunderstorms that occur across the western Carolinas are small... Producing severe weather over an area of only a few square miles or less. These storms typically cause brief wind gusts of 58 to 70 mph...and rarely produce hail larger than quarter size.
- However...in some instances a severe thunderstorm...or a complex of thunderstorms can affect an area that is hundreds or thousands of square miles across. These types of storms are capable of producing hurricane force winds that blow down large swaths of trees...flip mobile homes that are not tied down...and cause minor structural damage to permanent homes.
- In rare instances...these types of storm systems can produce tornado force winds in excess of 90 mph...destroying mobile homes and causing significant damage to permanent homes. Because of the extensive damage that occurs with these rare storms...they are often mistaken for tornadoes. It is important to understand that the public impact of these types of extreme downbursts is often greater than that of a typical tornado...as the area covered is usually much larger than that of a tornado.
- The moral of the story is...severe thunderstorm warnings should be taken very seriously. The greatest hazard associated with downbursts in the western Carolinas is from trees falling on homes or vehicles. This can cause extensive damage...resulting in injuries or even fatalities to people inside. As part of your preparation for the severe weather season...dead or diseased trees that are in danger of falling on your home should be removed. Even wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph are capable of blowing down dead or damaged trees.
- When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued...or downbursts or large hail are observed...the safest place to be is in an interior room on the lowest level of a well-constructed home or building. You should especially avoid rooms that could be damaged by falling trees.
- Remember...severe thunderstorms occasionally produce tornadoes with little or no warning...especially during the spring. For more information on assembling an emergency supplies kit...visit noaa.gov/wrn.