CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Updated model data coming into the First Alert Weather Center Friday morning suggests the likelihood of severe thunderstorms late Friday and a real threat of (at least) isolated tornadoes.
The counties of Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Rowan were under a Tornado Warning for some time Friday evening, but the warning was lifted around 7:40 p.m.
Stanly County was under a Tornado Warning for some time Friday, but the warning was lifted around 2:45 p.m. Burke County was under a Tornado Warning until 7:15 p.m.
A Tornado Watch has been issued for the majority of the WBTV viewing area until 10 p.m. Friday night.
According to the National Weather Service, Alexander, Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Union, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Stanly and Rowan counties are all under the Tornado Watch until 10 p.m. The counties of Lancaster, Chesterfield, York in South Carolina are under the Tornado Watch as well.
Burke, Caldwell and Cleveland counties were under the Tornado Watch for some time Friday, but were cleared around 5 p.m.
A Flash Flood Warning was isued for Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rowan counties until 10:15 p.m.
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for Chesterfield and Lancaster counties in South Carolina until 3:30 p.m. Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Rowan counties were also under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, which was lifted around 3:30 p.m. A second Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for the counties of Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rowan until 7:30 p.m.
Chester and York counties were under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 3:15 p.m.
Warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air is being transported north along a warm front associated with the remnants of Harvey over the Ohio Valley. That warm mass will clash with a cool front just to our north, and as the atmosphere becomes more and more unstable, thunderstorms will break out over the mountains and foothills shortly after lunchtime and then spread east over time.
With increasing wind shear over the region, the primary threats Friday afternoon and evening will be damaging, straight-line winds. Isolated tornadoes – like those that were spawned across the mid-South Thursday – are entirely possible as well. These are not all that uncommon when decaying tropical systems blow through the area.
Though most of these discrete thunderstorm cells should be moving through in quick fashion Friday, there is also a concern for localized flooding, especially if more than one line of storms develops.
Now is a good time to review your safety plan at home and also download the WBTV Weather app for all the weather warnings and alerts that are sure to come!
There IS good news in the forecast beyond today's severe weather threat. After we move past this evening, the holiday weekend is looking great. Saturday should clear out quickly, unless you are in the northern mountains, where some wrap-around showers are still in the picture. Sunday and Labor Day look wonderful with sunny, warm and dry conditions for all.
- Meteorologist Al Conklin