High winds, storms threaten area

Damaging winds possible this afternoon, tonight

Staff report
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — The showers that were to begin after 1 p.m. are already here — but could simply be the calm before the storm.

The gray skies opened up shortly after 9:15 a.m., putting ahead by a few hours the National Weather Service forecast and its Hazardous Weather Outlook. The advisory includes Richmond County, along with much of central North Carolina.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rain and winds knocked down a promotional sign outside Henry's Uptown Cafe early Thursday afternoon on South Hancock Street in downtown Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rain and winds knocked down a promotional sign outside Henry’s Uptown Cafe early Thursday afternoon on South Hancock Street in downtown Rockingham.

The official forecast predicts “a few strong to severe storms are possible today … mainly this afternoon and evening between noon and 10 p.m. The main threats will be from damaging wind gusts over 60 mph and perhaps an isolated tornado.”

Nick Petro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said the threat of an isolated tornado is possible for “somewhere in central North Carolina,” not necessarily Richmond County.

“In terms of total rainfall, we’re looking for about an inch and a half, if you add it all up between now and (Friday) morning,” Petro said. “It looks like it might end by sunrise tomorrow morning. The heaviest (rain) is expected this evening and perhaps even into the overnight hours.”

Petro said the system is a large storm that has moved across the eastern third of the United States.

national_weather_service“There is that risk for some strong storms,” Petro said. “We’ll have to be on watch, on guard, for damaging wind gusts or maybe an isolated tornado.”

Rain could be heavy at times today and tonight, resulting in ponding of water on roads, especially those with poor drainage, as well as swollen creeks and streams.

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