Showers and thunderstorms are a big player in the forecast through the next 24+ hours but after that attention will shift to the potential of strong winds as we head into the end of the work week.
On Thursday low pressure will move through the Ohio Valley and drag a cold front through the Carolinas during the afternoon and evening hours. As you can see on the image posted, strong low pressure located across Ohio will help push northwest winds into the Western Carolinas. Meanwhile additional low pressure will begin to form off the East Coast, that is a result of strong upper level energy that will intensify even more along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coast.
By Friday morning, a classic Miller-B transfer of energy off the coast will be complete and the result is a gale center off the East Coast along with a cutoff upper level area of low pressure overhead. Wind energy aloft with this low will be quite expansive up and down the east coast. Here locally, winds at about 5000 ft are expected to exceed 60 kts starting late Thursday night and lasting through most of Friday. That is the kind of wind energy that could result in damaging winds if they can mix down toward the surface.
The key to any high winds here in our area will be just how efficient the atmosphere can mix that air and bring it toward the surface. Right now we expect sunny conditions on Friday to help promote mixing of the atmosphere, that along with a surface pressure gradient should result in a windy day for everyone on Friday. Of course, the best chance of damaging winds (50 mph or higher) would be in the mountains and in the higher elevations of Burke, Caldwell and McDowell Counties on Friday. But even here in the lower elevations, gusts of up to 40 mph are quite possible during the daytime hours of Friday.
High Wind Watches and Advisories will likely be issued by the National Weather Service for parts of the coverage area over the next 24 hours. Given the expected rainfall on Thursday, the strong winds could result in toppled tree and power lines by Friday.
We would encourage everyone to make sure and secure any loose objects that could be prone to damage by high winds.