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Central North Carolina could wake up to rain Thursday, and by early afternoon dangerous weather is in the forecast. Most of the area is under a Level 3, or enhanced, risk for severe weather.
That means there is the likelihood of storms that could pack damaging winds, hail, heavy downpours and at least the threat of tornadoes.
“You’re probably going to see some rain early (Thursday),” meteorologist Kat Campbell said. “We’re likely to see rain early in the day and we’re going to have to keep an eye open for this.
“There is a chance that if we see enough rain that it could help to stabilize the atmosphere. We certainly want that to happen because the more rain we see earlier in the day, the lower our risk for severe weather will be.
“If the rain clears out and we see a break around lunchtime, we could see the energy in the atmosphere build up.”
Campbell said we should start to see storms around 2 p.m. but things will really ramp up between 3-5 p.m. By 9 p.m., the storms should be moving out of the area.
“Especially during the evening is when we could see these strong storms, damaging winds, wind gusts, hail and isolated tornadoes possible (Thursday) evening,” Campbell said.
There is about a 10% risk of tornadoes for any one location in an area that stretches from Charlotte to Greenville, with a 5% risk for the eastern part of the state, meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. The severity of the storms should moderate through Thursday night, but showers could continue into Friday morning.
After the storms move away, Friday looks sunny and dry, although another system could bring rain and thunderstorms to the area on Saturday. There is a chance some of the storms on Saturday could be severe, too.