EASTERN CAROLINA - The Tornado Watch for several Eastern Carolina counties has expired.
The watch was issued Tuesday night and lasted until 8 a.m. Wednesday for counties along and east of Highway 17, including Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Tyrrell and Washington Counties.
The National Weather Service is investigating several storm damage reports from Atlantic Beach and Morehead City. A trained NWS storm spotter said the damage looked like it was caused by a tornado. But this is still unconfirmed until the National Weather Service can investigate and give an official report.
Most of the heaviest rain has passed, but light to moderate rainfall with continue over the next few hours.
As this coastal storm continues to barrel through Eastern Carolina and up the coast, we will watch our weather take a chilly turn. Temperatures are near 70 degrees Wednesday morning, but will be falling into the upper 40's and 50's by the afternoon.
Clouds will be clear for Thanksgiving, with a sunny high of about 44 degrees. The weather will be cold for any Black Friday shoppers.
The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for Eastern Carolina.
The following counties are under the Tornado Watch until 4 a.m. Wednesday:
BEAUFORT, CARTERET, CRAVEN, DARE, DUPLIN, GREENE, HYDE, JONES, LENOIR, MARTIN, ONSLOW, PAMLICO, PITT, TYRRELL, WASHINGTON
Meanwhile, a Tornado Warning was issued for south-central Craven County. The warning expired at 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Tonight I am tracking rain across most of eastern North Carolina as an active weather pattern continues to affect our area. There are also some thunderstorms that are moving toward our coast from off the ocean. Those thunderstorms are the ones that we are concerned about as they move onshore. Our weather pattern is one that would support some of those thunderstorms rotating into water spouts, so that brings the threat of some generally small, but still dangerous tornadoes along the coast (east of US17). The unsettled weather pattern stretches "upstream" from us with several more waves of rain and possible storm energy to pass over or near eastern North Carolina tonight.
So far, most areas have reported one quarter to just over one half inch of rainfall but there is heavier rain headed our way for later tonight. Most of our computer forecast models are predicting 1 to 2 inches of rainfall across much of the east with some isolated 3 inch amounts possible. The wind is blowing hard from the southeast at a steady 10-20 mph with gusts to 35 mph. If any of the thunderstorms blow in off the ocean from south to north, the strong southeast wind at the surface would provide a mechanism to provide some spin to the thunderstorms and transition them into waterspouts.
There is a Tornado Watch in effect until 1:00am for the area just to our south (Pender county is the northernmost county in the Watch).
Get ready and strap in for a wild ride into Thanksgiving.
A powerful storm will move out of the Gulf Coast states and rocket up the Eastern Seaboard, with the center of the storm tracking practically up the I-95 corridor Tuesday night. This will mean heavy rain for us in Eastern Carolina, but wintry travel for the Mountains from the western part of our state into New York. Another Canadian high pressure will settle in behind the storm for Thanksgiving into next weekend.
Clouds from this storm will thicken Tuesday morning, with rain developing from west to east byTuesday afternoon. The heaviest rain will occur after sunset Tuesday night until sunrise Wednesday morning, when more than 2 inches could fall. I'm also slightly concerned about a severe weather potential early Wednesday morning east of Highway 17. Damaging wind gusts and even an isolated tornado/water spout cannot be completely ruled out as there will be lots of wind energy over us. Gusty winds will also accompany this storm, with coastal areas seeing gusts of 45 mph possible. A Wind Advisory will be posted for coastal areas by Tuesday night. This wind will also move the water in the sounds around. Dare and Hyde Counties will see minor sound side flooding on the southerly wind through Wednesday morning; then, the Outer Banks south of Oregon Inlet on the northwesterly winds for Wednesday evening. High surf, beach erosion, and ocean over-wash will also be problems from this system.
The cold front with this system will sweep off the coast by late Wednesday morning. Colder air will sweep in with temperatures dropping back from predawn highs in the upper 60s through the 50s by later afternoon.
Thanksgiving Day will be very similar to Tuesday, as another cold Canadian high pressure will be over us from then through the coming weekend.