What you need to know about Friday's forecasted severe storms in Virginia

Damaging wind gusts, flooding the main threats

By Chris Michaels - Meteorologist

ROANOKE, Va. - 'Tis the season for strong-to-severe storms to pop up in the forecast. What we'll do in this article is break down the timing and possible threats in detail. Let's first start off with the quick version of things. 

1. Severe storms are possible across southwest, central and southside Virginia between Noon and 8 p.m. Friday. 

2. Main threats are heavy showers that are capable of producing flooding, along with damaging wind gusts. 

3. Tornadoes are not the primary threat, but an isolated one cannot be ruled out. 

4. Have a way to get weather information, even if you're traveling for the holiday weekend.

TIMING THINGS OUT

Clouds increase Thursday night, with a few showers being possible in the morning Friday. Most anything in that time frame, however, will be rather light. 

Shortly after lunchtime, a line of storms will likely start getting its act together in parts of the Highlands and Southern Blue Ridge. 

 

This line marches from west to east during the afternoon. Anything that pops separate from the line (east of the Parkway during the afternoon) may have the chance to rotate. 

Then, the line slowly progresses toward Lynchburg and Southside between 4 and 8 p.m. Friday. 

POTENTIAL IMPACTS

In this kind of setup, the primary impacts usually come down to heavy rain capable of producing flooding as well as high, potentially damaging wind gusts. There's some rotation in the atmosphere, so we'll have to see if any discrete storms (ones that aren't part of the line) start to spin.

The reason why we're concerned about flooding has to do with some of the rain we received last Sunday. It also has to do with the abundance of moisture moving in with this storm system. All it would take is 1.5 to 2.5" of rain in six hours for flash flooding to occur. We'll watch the trends closely, and hope that this line of storms moves east a little quicker. 

In addition, wind gusts are another concern because of how fast the air is moving just above our heads. At the 3,000 foot level the wind speeds will go anywhere from 35 to 55 mph (if not a little higher near Southside). Any little bit of that air that gets mixed down to the ground will come down quickly, resulting in some tree damage and perhaps even a few power outages. 

This is why, once again, it's important to:

a) have a severe weather safety plan (ie. where to go, what to have nearby, etc.)

b) know where you are on a map, so that getting critical weather information can happen more quickly. 

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