Potential for severe storms increasing for parts of the area Thursday

Any thunderstorm can produce damaging wind gusts or perhaps a tornado, especially in Southside

Severe weather outlook for Thursday, 3/18/2021 as of 3 a.m. Wednesday, 3/17/2021

ROANOKE, Va. – The Luck of the Irish is with us for much of St. Patrick’s Day, as we stay dry with temperatures in the 60s during the afternoon.

High temperature forecast - St. Patrick's Day 2021

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Whatever luck we have, however, is in limited supply come Thursday.

A storm system that will produce a severe weather outbreak in the Plains will drift eastward, giving us the increased potential for severe weather Thursday afternoon and evening. The greater chance of severe thunderstorms will be in Southside, but all of us need to be on alert.


Whatever we see in the morning Thursday will just be plain rain (nothing severe about it).

FutureTracker - early Thursday morning

By midday/early afternoon, temperatures will have warmed. This could make the environment more conducive to produce a few strong-to-severe thunderstorms south of U.S. 460 through about 5 or 6 p.m.

FutureTracker - 1 p.m. Thursday, 3/18/2021

Should Southside get into the upper 60s to near 70°, the concern is there for damaging storms capable of producing a tornado during the afternoon.

FutureTracker - 4 p.m. Thursday, 3/18/2021

As our upper level system passes through, more storms may develop in the New River Valley closer to sunset before moving east during the evening. These could be strong to severe as well.

FutureTracker - Thursday evening, 3/18/2021


Due to the amount of wind above us, any storm that develops could bring that wind down to the surface (resulting in damaging gusts). There’s also sufficient rotation in the atmosphere, so the threat for a tornado is there especially in Southside. Localized flooding is possible with any pocket of heavier rain that develops. Hail, if any, would be confined to the strongest of storms.

Storm threats - Thursday, 3/18/2021

What To Do

While severe weather may not occur in every neighborhood of the 10 News viewing area, you need to have multiple ways to get warnings. This is good practice any time of year.

- Have the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) turned on on your phone.

- Make sure notifications on Your Local Weather Authority app are turned on as well.

- Stay with us on social media and/or on TV.

- If you have a NOAA Weather Radio, make sure it’s working properly.

- Lastly, call or text loved ones to make them aware of the potential for severe thunderstorms.

Ways to get warnings

After the Storm

Once the storm passes east, we’ll still have some leftover showers on the backside. Some colder air above may allow snowflakes to mix in with the rain north of U.S. 460 Friday morning. Accumulations, if any, would be very light given the warm and wet ground.

What we're tracking - Friday morning, 3/19/2021

Temperatures drop from midnight to Friday afternoon, so the high temperature you see Friday actually happens closer to midnight. The first weekend of spring looks quiet and sunny.

Weekend forecast for 3/19 to 3/21/2021

Highs Saturday will be in the 50s with warmer air gradually building in by Sunday.

About the Author

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.