CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Severe thunderstorms awoke many across the Carolinas early Thursday morning. Dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning and at least penny sized hail moved in as many of us were headed off to work. Tree branches were blown down and one man reported being struck by lightning.
Many of us are accustomed to watching for the late afternoon and early evening thunderstorms, but Thursday's storms moved in early in the morning. These powerful storms serve as a reminder that severe weather can happen at any time of day, at any time of the year. May is considered the most likely month for severe weather nationwide, and with the peak time of year for severe weather approaching, timing is not limited to the afternoon hours. Interestingly enough, there is a smaller secondary peak in the hours just after sunrise, due to the rapid heating that occurs during the first few hours of the day.
As we approach peak storm season, the frequency of these storms will be on the increase and will not be limited to the usual afternoon storms. Thunderstorms that produce lightning, hail and even tornadoes can occur anytime conditions are right. All these storms need is warm air and moisture, and all it takes is a trigger to send towering thunderstorms upward into the atmosphere.
In Thursday's case, temperatures in the 60s and very humid air fed the storms that popped up along a cold front.