The storm system that has already spawned tornadoes across the south continues to sweep eastward this morning …
Inland areas of Georgia are likely to see strong thunderstorms today, with the potential for more tornadoes. It’s going to be a busy weather day. But, being self centered, what about the coast? TLDR: be prepared, hopefully you have a weather radio handy for alerts. There is a good potential for strong winds and intense thunderstorm cells, and some potential for tornadoes. For Savannah/Hilton Head, arrival times look to be at 3pm, with the main line passing through Savannah around 4pm. Here is the latest (6am) High Resolution Rapid Refresh model forecast for 3pm EST:
The strongest storms should stay west (inland) of I-95, and there is an area to the north of the Hampton SC area that has some potential for stronger storms and tornadoes. In the above model run you can see that area of severe storms approaching stretching up to Walterboro. But the entire region should pay attention to this event and be prepared to take shelter from any tornadoes that form. Here are some tornado preparedness tips from FEMA/DHS.
As for the details, like most things it’s complicated. As a start, while forecasts are much better, with high resolution tools running hourly to update the forecasts, this is still a dynamic situation with some uncertainty. It seems the risk along the coast is lower based on the latest data, however, here is what the National Weather Service’s office in Charleston has to say:
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: After much internal collaboration with the SPC and neighboring WFOs this morning, the earlier “moderate risk” has been replaced with an “enhanced risk” for given the continued uncertainty on how stability profiles will evolve through the day. This action SHOULD NOT be misconstrued as a lowering of the severe risk for the area as conditions still remain favorable for a potential outbreak of severe tstms some of which could produce a few strong tornadoes. It is simply an attempt to better message the uncertainty with how widespread today`s severe weather will be. Media partners are asked to helpFrom NWS Forecast discussion as of 622 AM EST, Thursday 18 March 2021
convey this critical message today.
It will be interesting to see how local media handles this request. Asking local weather forecasters to continue to push a message that things have the potential to be bad is likely to be successful 😛 . But … it also needs to be clear that despite the need for vigilance, these storms might well break up as they reach the coast. I’ve seen some comments that they never come here. Well, sometimes they do … so be prepared.