|Above: Sonya Banes reacts to a large oak tree that crashed through the patio of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the community. Image credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis.|
Damaging winds may be widespread on Friday afternoon and evening from eastern South Carolina to eastern Virginia, as a multiday severe weather episode reaches its finale. The NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center placed the region under a moderate risk of severe weather. Tornadoes are possible, but the most far-reaching impacts will likely be from damaging thunderstorm winds. This is the first moderate-risk outlook for parts of the Carolinas since early 2016.
|Figure 1. Severe weather outlook from the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center for Friday, April 19, 2019, updated at 1630Z (12:30 pm EDT).|
An extremely strong upper-level jet will be racing north over the mid-Atlantic states, while a surface low pulls warm, humid air beneath the jet. Because the air aloft is relatively warm, instability may be on the weak side in some areas for a severe weather outbreak, but strong jet-related dynamics should more than compensate. Wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph could mix down in the bursts of heavy rain accompanying an intense squall line that will push eastward across the region. A few supercell storms could also form just ahead of the line.
At 1 PM EDT Friday, a continuous belt of tornado watches extended all the way from south of Tampa, Florida, through the western Carolinas and western Virginia to the Maryland/Pennsylvania border.
To reiterate my sentiment from yesterday, this is one the most favorable environmental soundings I've ever seen in central NC for straight line wind damage. High CAPE coupled w/ strong deep lyr shear, DCAPE, & high PWAT can definitely support straight line winds > 70-75 mph #ncwx pic.twitter.com/8Ol3qPIwNP— Eric Webb (@webberweather) April 19, 2019
Thursday’s storms across the South (with a few stragglers over the Southern Plains) were also wind-dominated, with 211 reports of severe wind and 10 tornado reports but just 1 report of severe hail. Three deaths were associated with Thursday’s severe weather, which knocked out power to almost 100,000 homes and businesses in five states. See the weather.com recap for more on Thursday’s severe weather.
Preliminary results from the storm survey team currently in Scott County, finds damage in the town of Morton, MS consistent with that of a high-end EF-2 tornado, with maximum winds of 132 mph. More information will be released as it's received. pic.twitter.com/lYXAISSqmj— NWS Jackson MS (@NWSJacksonMS) April 19, 2019
Thursday's storms followed a more multi-faceted round of severe weather in the Southern Plains on Wednesday that yielded 12 tornado reports, 88 hail reports, and 78 reports of high wind. Hail up to 3" in diameter pounded parts of northwest Oklahoma.
For more on Friday's anticipated outbreak of high winds, see the frequently update weather.com forecast article.