FIRST ALERT: Thunderstorms moving through the area

FIRST ALERT: Thunderstorms moving through the area

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The WBTV First Alert Weather Center is updating ahead of a weather system expected to move through the Carolinas. Check for updates on and in the WBTV Weather App (iPhone Android).

3:45 p.m. Monday

Thunderstorms are on the way through as we speak. As a cold front moves into the Carolinas, it will bring a quick burst of heavy rain and gusty winds. The Storm Prediction Center has placed us under a "Slight" risk for severe storms. The bullseye should stay across northern North Carolina, through Virginia and up into Pennsylvania.

Here is the setup.

The cold front is moving fast. Since we've had mainly cloudy skies today, it is a little more stable than it would be otherwise. That would be a vote against severe weather. However, we could still get a few strong to severe storms because there are upper-level winds that are favorable for a severe weather possibility. As the storms move through, they will put down heavy rain. That is probably the biggest threat.

Gusty winds are also likely. Hail and tornadoes aren't completely out of the question but aren't terribly likely.

The storms are moving quickly. They won't last very long. Unfortunately, they will be here during the evening commute and when kids are out at practices and games. By 8 or 9:00, the storms will be all but done. A beautiful… dry… low humidity day will follow on Tuesday.

Be safe and we'll keep you posted!

- Leigh Brock

11 a.m. Monday

With a strong cold front posed to cross the WBTV area this evening, it seems fairly likely that rain – some of it heavy – will impact the late day commute and any outdoor sporting events planned for this afternoon or evening.  As such, WBTV meteorologists have raised the First Alert Day flag.

What's still a bit of a question is the potential for severe weather to accompany the rain and front. Obviously, there is extensive cloud cover across the region, and so, that cuts down on the instability aspect of the system.

If the sun were to pop out for a few hours – possible, but not terribly likely – temperatures would  jump back in to the 80s, as in days' past. More likely, we'll stay mostly cloudy for the balance of the day with readings no higher than the upper 70s for most neighborhoods. Again, the cloud cover and cooler temperatures tend to keep a lid of the severe weather potential.

Even so, the shear – twisting of wind with height – is very impressive with this storm, so we can't totally discount the idea of a few stronger thunderstorms developing along the frontal line. Shear usually translates to damaging wind gusts, which, based on what's modeled, could reach near 60 mph in any late-day thunderstorm, and those potential winds are the number one concern for our region.

We'll be monitoring the situation throughout the day and keep you posted, so check back for future updates.

- Al Conklin

12 a.m. Monday

Monday has been declared a First Alert Weather Day.

A cold front is moving closer to the Carolinas and we may see a few showers but storms shouldn't be an issue.

Monday morning will start with a few scattered showers. The best chance for rain will be the farther north you go. By the middle of the day, the showers may be a little more widespread but the best chance for thunderstorms will be in the afternoon. The front will keep the best chance for severe weather well to our north as you can see in the first graphic. However, we still have a "Marginal" risk for severe storms.

By mid-afternoon, the chance for thunderstorms will increase in the mountains. They will move to the east from there. As you can see from the second graphic, the target time for storms moving through the Charlotte area will be right around 4 to 5 p.m.

That's when kids are heading home from school and out to practices. Any storms could produce a quick burst of heavy rain, gusty winds and hail.

The good news is that it doesn't look like a long-lived event. The line should come in and move out fairly fast but could pack a punch as they move through.

Stay safe! We'll keep you posted!

- Meteorologist Leigh Brock

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