The (above) images depict the severe weather potential and rainfall expectations today/tonight. The severe weather threat, including the potential for tornadoes, has increased since yesterday, with southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina now under a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms. Damaging winds and tornadoes are the primary threats with thunderstorms. I have highlighted 2 areas on the larger severe weather threat graphic denoting the primary timing for severe weather. The western area threat is from about 3pm through 9pm, and the eastern area is 4pm through 10pm. Heavy rainfall looks to be a lesser threat in our area than we previously expected, although 0.50" amounts will be widespread. Some areas may still receive 1" or more of rainfall, especially along and west of I-95. There is a minimal threat for flash flooding. However, runoff from rainfall since Monday could still cause rivers to exceed flood stage in some areas later this week into this weekend. However, no worse than minor river flooding is expected at this time. Most, if not all the rain and thunderstorms will move offshore by midnight.
After today, dry weather is expected through this weekend, although tomorrow will be a breezy to windy day across the region.
NOTE: Not everyone will experience severe weather today. However, strong winds through a deep layer in the atmosphere make this situation quite favorable for thunderstorms to produce damaging winds, along with the potential for tornadoes. In addition, saturated soil throughout our area will make it easier for trees to be down by winds in excess of 40 mph.
The Storm Prediction Center has moved the most significant severe weather risk northwestward 30-60 miles (see above image), and now straddles the I-95 corridor, including Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Farmville, Tappahannock, and South Hill. The basic reasoning for the higher than average threat remains the same from our earlier briefing, and this outlook could again shift later this afternoon.
The main message - severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes remain possible this afternoon. The main threats are damaging winds and tornadoes. A tornado watch will likely be issued for portions of our area in the next 2-4 hours. Once a watch is issued for your area, closely monitor radar for thunderstorm trends. If a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued, take actions to protect life and property from wind/wind damage and debris.
Timing of the severe weather, and rainfall expectations for this event remain unchanged from our earlier briefing.