42ºF

Storm brings snow, near-hurricane force wind gusts to North Carolina

Few flakes across Southside

ROANOKE, Va. – For only the second time in 100 years, Charlotte, North Carolina saw measurable snow in April. Up to 2 inches of snow fell just south and east of the metro. Light snow made it into Danville and South Boston as a powerful storm rapidly intensified off of the Outer Banks.

Winds on the Outer Banks gusted to near hurricane-force Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved north. 74 mph starts he hurricane threshold.

While wind gusts were in hurricane territory, this storm lacked tropical characteristics and therefore was just a strong mid-latitude cyclone or low pressure system.

The storm rapidly intensified over the extremely warm waters of the Gulf Stream, the ribbon of red off of the east coast (warm water) that extends back to the warm water source the Gulf Of Mexico.

Mid-latitude cyclones get their fuel from the difference in temperature in the atmosphere. The bigger the difference, the stronger the storm. The relatively warm waters of the Atlantic versus the cold air over land made near-perfect conditions for this intensification.

As the system moves out to sea, winds locally will increase out of the west, drying us out and warming us up. The sun Wednesday afternoon will certainly help to warm temperatures back to near 70, but the wind coming down the mountains will provide more warmth.

As air sinks, it compresses and warms. This is how sometimes behind cold fronts, our temperatures will actually warm because the wind direction is mainly out of the west.


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