Raleigh, N.C. — Record warmth is headed toward central and eastern North Carolina for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but before it arrives, the area will have to deal with another round of showers and possibly thunderstorms on Wednesday.
WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said damaging winds, hail, flooding and isolated tornadoes are possible with Wednesday’s storm threat. The National Weather Service says North Carolina is in an area of “marginal” risk for strong to severe storms.
Tornado warnings were issued Wednesday morning for several counties in southeastern North Carolina, but no funnel clouds or damage were reported as a powerful storm cell moved through Bladen, Sampson and Duplin counties.
The first warnings were issued before 8 a.m. as a strong cell pushed through Bladen County. Sampson and Duplin counties were put under warnings at about 8 a.m., and the National Weather Service canceled the Sampson County alert at about 8 a.m.
“We haven’t had any reports of damage or funnels on the ground, but we did see rotation with this storm as it moved northeast through those rural counties,” WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said.
Rain chances will remain well above 50 percent throughout the bulk of the day, and the rain will be accompanied by extremely warm temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s.
“With all the rain we had on Tuesday, and the rain we have falling this morning, flooding is a concern,” Wilmoth said. “Take your time on the roads, because we’ll likely have ponding and flooding throughout the morning.”
Rain chances will go down steadily later in the day Wednesday before drier air pushes in for Christmas Eve.
Despite general clearing, rain chances will linger on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“It’s going to feel a lot more like Florida than North Carolina in the coming days, Wilmoth said.
Highs on Christmas Eve will be in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees, about 20 to 25 degrees above normal for late December. The record high temperature for Christmas Eve at Raleigh-Durham International Airport is 75 degrees, a mark set in 1931.
On Christmas Day, highs will again be in the mid-70s, well above normal and likely near a record once again.
,Record warmth is headed toward central and eastern North Carolina for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but before it arrives, the area will have to deal with another round of showers and possibly thunderstorms on Wednesday.
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