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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Easter weekend will get off to a stormy start in the Charlotte area thanks to a large storm system that will bring the potential for severe weather Friday afternoon.
First Warn forecaster Larry Sprinkle said these storms could bring heavy rain, damaging winds, a lot of lightning, hail and even some isolated tornadoes.
“When you get winds over 55 mph that can cause a lot of major problems,” Sprinkle said. “Just because there’s no watch right now doesn’t mean we can’t see isolated spin-ups, those smaller tornadoes, this afternoon.”
Chief meteorologist Brad Panovich believes Charlotte’s biggest threat will be damaging straight-line winds, but he can’t rule out tornadoes with this system.
“Regardless of what kind of thunderstorms we get, we’re going to see damaging winds, even outside of thunderstorms,” Panovich said.
The National Weather Service has the Charlotte area at a high risk for severe weather potential for Friday and areas around Atlanta, Georgia were under tornado warnings Friday morning.
Sprinkle said the mountains and foothills will see the first rain with some scattered showers well before noon. Those storms will push east and reach Charlotte by around 2 p.m.
“The bulk of the heavier rain is in the middle part of the afternoon,” Sprinkle said. “We could see a few showers before then but the heaviest is from about 1 to around 4 o’clock.”
Panovich said the timing of the storms could impact the potential for severe weather. If the storms arrive later in the afternoon, there’s a greater chance for supercell storms that could develop rotation. As of Friday morning, the biggest threat for tornadoes is east of I-77.
Sprinkle said some areas south and east of Charlotte could see up to 2 inches of rain, while nearly every area will receive at least a half-inch from the storms. The storms will move out of the Charlotte area Friday night.
Saturday will be cooler in the 60s while Easter Sunday will be a beautiful sunny day with afternoon highs in the mid-70s.
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