Caution urged as bad weather rolls into region
Severe weather during the next few days could bring damaging winds, large hail and flash flooding to Durham and Chapel Hill.
Nick Petro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said a low-pressure cold front combined with upper-level disturbances are provoking a familiar pattern of April storms.
Today “looks like maybe a little more widespread threat for damaging winds, large hail, an isolated tornado or two,” Petro said. “The timing for that is going to be mostly afternoon and evening. And then [tonight], it might continue.”
If rain persists overnight, he said, flash flooding could strike “as water comes down heavy and collects in low spots.”
“But then as the week wears on, all that water finds its way into the bigger rivers, we could see river flooding,” Petro said. “It remains to be seen.”
Although it was about eight degrees cooler than normal Monday, he said temperatures are expected to hover around 80 on today and Wednesday.
“That warmth and humidity will be fuel for the storms,” he said.
He urged people to pay close attention to the weather and to use caution during outdoor activities.
“Know where the safe places are to be,” Petro said. “Seek shelter if bad weather comes upon you. Don’t delay, don’t wait for warnings. Seek shelter immediately.”
The worst of the weather should pass by Thursday, although rain may linger until the weekend, he said.
This round of storms comes just days after four eastern North Carolina counties were struck by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday declared a state of emergency for Beaufort, Chowan, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.
“My heart goes out to the hundreds of people dealing with property damage, injuries and even the loss of life,” McCrory said. “In times like these, we must stick together and help each other out, and we will do all that we can to help communities hit by these storms.”
Frank L. Perry, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, urged people to stay informed and be ready for bad weather.
“We have all seen how quickly storms can strike and it is extremely important for everyone to stay tuned to local weather reports to get the most up-to-date information,” he said. “Our goal is to stress the importance of being prepared.”
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