Severe Weather Siege Targets the East Friday With Damaging Winds, Tornadoes, Flooding Rain

weather.com meteorologists
Published: April 19, 2019

Following a severe weather outbreak last weekend, the multi-day siege of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain will hammer a swath of the East Friday.

Happening Now

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued the following severe weather watches:

  • A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. EDT for parts of western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. This watch area includes Greenville, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • A tornado watch is in effect until 12 a.m. EDT for parts of northern Virginia and central Maryland. This watch area includes Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
  • A tornado watch is in effect until 12 a.m. EDT for southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina. This watch area includes Virginia Beach and Richmond, Virginia.
  • A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 10 p.m. EDT for south-central Florida.
  • A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 11 p.m. EDT for south-central Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg.

A line of strong to severe thunderstorms is currently moving through parts of Virginia, eastern North Carolina and western Maryland.

Scattered severe thunderstorms are also dropping southern Florida.

(INTERACTIVE: Latest Radar and Warnings)


Current Radar, Watches and Warnings

A tornado moved through or very near Hillsborough, North Carolina late Friday afternoon. Damage to trees and a few structures has been reported so far.

Strong winds knocked over trees across South Carolina Friday afternoon. Two homes were damaged in Newberry County by a possible tornado.

A possible tornado also damaged a modular home, blew a roof off another home and downed trees near Sydnorsville, Virginia late Friday morning.

A tornado was detected by its debris signature southwest of Tallahassee, Florida, in Liberty County earlier Friday morning. Damage was reported near Smith Creek in Wakulla County from that storm.

This line of storms downed a few trees on the north side of the Atlanta metro area early Friday morning. Embedded rotation within the squall line also prompted tornado warnings in the north metro suburbs and also in parts of North Georgia.

The line stalled out temporarily over parts of Georgia, upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina, prompting flash flooding that washed out at least one road.

There were 10 reports of tornadoes in Mississippi Thursday, with structural damage reported near Clinton, in Harrisville, Morton and near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

(LATEST NEWS: Severe Thunderstorms Turn Deadly in the South)

Here's a look at our severe weather forecast.

Friday

Severe thunderstorms will be most numerous this afternoon and evening in parts of Virginia and the Carolinas. The main severe weather impact in these areas will be destructive straight-line thunderstorm winds, with gusts that may top 70 mph.

This damaging wind threat prompted the issuance of a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, the second highest level on their severe outlooks, the first moderate risk in the eastern Carolinas in over three years.

(MORE: What the Storm Prediction Center's Convective Outlook Means)

There may also be supercell thunderstorms ahead of the main squall line that could spawn tornadoes in that zone from southern Virginia to South Carolina, as well as damaging wind gusts.

The severe weather threat will extend as far north as parts of the mid-Atlantic states and will also sweep through the Florida Peninsula.

This damaging-wind threat may persist into Friday night from New Jersey to the Delmarva Peninsula, North Carolina's Outer Banks and South Florida until it moves offshore by early Saturday morning.


Friday's Severe Weather Forecast

Heavy Rain/Flash Flood Threat

Flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service from Virginia to Maine.

While the line of strong to severe thunderstorms should advance Friday and Friday night, some locally heavy rain is likely in the East from Florida to the Northeast, potentially triggering flash flooding. A slight risk of excessive rainfall has been issued by NOAA's Weather Prediction Center in an expansive swath of the East Friday, lingering in New England Saturday.

Rain falling on leftover snowpack is a concern in parts of upstate New York and northern New England.


Rainfall Forecast Through Saturday

Severe Weather Recap

Thursday, April 18

The National Weather Service office in Jackson, Mississippi, was forced to briefly take shelter Thursday afternoon as a possible tornado approached the office. Fortunately, it passed just north of the office, and forecasters were quickly able to resume normal operations.

In Clinton, Mississippi, just west of Jackson, the fire department reported that cars were flipped over in a Walmart parking lot from the same possible tornado.

That tornado, rated EF2 by the National Weather Service, was also responsible for destroying some homes in the north part of Morton, Mississippi, Thursday afternoon.

A trained weather spotter reported a tornado was also in sight near Raymond, Mississippi, Thursday afternoon.

Damaging straight-line winds downed trees and damaged some businesses Thursday night in Mobile, Alabama.

Flooding was reported in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Thursday afternoon after an estimated 2.5 to 3 inches of rain fell in the area. Creeks and streams were out of their banks, and multiple side roads were flooded.

Wednesday, April 17

Roughly a half-dozen tornadoes were sighted from the Texas Panhandle to southern Kansas Wednesday into Wednesday night.

Multiple homes were damaged, including a roof half-removed from one home northwest of Shattuck, Oklahoma. A pair of tornadoes was sighted by broadcast media and another observer at the time.

Other short-lived landspout-type tornadoes were sighted in southern Kansas near Wellington and Eureka, as well as near Amarillo's Rick Husband International Airport in the Texas Panhandle.

These were the first tornadoes of 2019 in both Kansas and Oklahoma.

Tree and roof damage was reported Wednesday evening in Pond Creek, Oklahoma, and a roof was lifted off a home, then set back down in Pawnee, Oklahoma.

Hail as large as teacups, 3 inches in diameter, was reported Wednesday evening in Selman, Oklahoma. Parts of the eastern Texas Panhandle saw hail up to 2 inches in diameter Wednesday afternoon. Quarter-sized hail in Goodnight, Texas, accumulated up to an inch deep, according to the National Weather Service.

Two semi-trailer trucks were blown over on Interstate 35 in north-central Oklahoma near the Kansas border. A nearby Oklahoma Mesonet weather station at Newkirk recorded wind gusts to 66 mph.

Parts of a squall line of severe thunderstorms produced wind damage Wednesday night. Trees and power lines were down in Henderson, Texas, about 120 miles east-southeast of Dallas. One semi was blown over by high winds on Interstate 45 in Leon County, Texas.

Thursday, April 18

Up to 4 inches of rain since midnight triggered flash flooding in the Little Rock, Arkansas, suburb of Bryant. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office reported a number of roads in the county were flooded or had standing water Thursday morning.


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