Friday, March 31, 2023

NWS: Severe thunderstorms, high winds, potential hail may hit Historic Triangle

The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Hampton Roads Wednesday. This image comes from a forecast last updated at 11:56 a.m. (Courtesy NWS)
The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Hampton Roads Wednesday. (Courtesy NWS)

Update 1:30 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for James City County, York County, and Williamsburg.

The watch was issued at 1:15 p.m. and is in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch “is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area,” according to a Google public alert.  

“A severe thunderstorm by definition is a thunderstorm that produces one inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour,” the alert stated. 

As for what drivers should expect in Hampton Roads, the Virginia Department of Transportation encourages motorists to remain alert for sudden changes on roadways. 

“People need to be careful and be on the lookout for downed power lines and trees,” said VDOT spokesperson Paula Miller. “Be prepared and very vigilant. Tree limbs and other debris in the roadway could be travel hazards if there is severe weather.”

Original story: While a wave of warm weather has rolled through the Historic Triangle this week, residents should aim to be indoors Wednesday evening.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook in Hampton Roads for late Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night.

“There is a slight risk for severe thunderstorms today…mainly during the afternoon and evening hours,” stated an alert from the National Weather Service in Wakefield, VA. “Scattered severe thunderstorms are possible with the main threat being damaging winds.”

Jonathan McGee, meteorologist with the NWS Wakefield Office, said the storms are most likely to hit the region between 8 p.m. and Midnight.

“The greatest threat is going to remain north and west of Williamsburg, but that’s not to marginalize it. We still have a severe threat for storms,” Mcgee said. “The main threat with any severe thunderstorm is going to be severe wind gusts and the potential for large hail.”

The NWS forecast also provides a 70 percent chance of precipitation for the evening, as well as 45 percent chance of wind gusts more than 50 mph and a 5 percent chance of a tornado.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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