Ocracoke may see more flooding overnight and into Thursday like this along Back Road on Tuesday as Winter Storm Avery makes its way across the state on Thursday. Photo: C. Leinbach

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Following Tuesday morning’s major thunderstorm that included a 6 a.m. tornado warning, high winds and heavy rain that flooded Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, comes Winter Storm Avery. The first major storm of the season is currently moving north and has prompted regional weather services to post flood and flash-flood watches for much of North Carolina through 7 p.m. Thursday.

Heavy rain across much of state
Rain coverage and intensity will increase overnight from southwest to northeast and continue into Thursday afternoon. Widespread additional rainfall totals of one to two inches are expected with two to three inches possible across western N.C. and along the Outer Banks. These rainfall amounts on an already saturated ground will lead to additional flooding of rivers/streams and some flash flooding.

The National Weather Service in Morehead City is monitoring the potential for heavy rain breaking out by the Thursday morning commute time, lingering through the afternoon. With saturated grounds from recent heavy rains, localized flash flooding may develop. 
Temperatures will warm dramatically this morning into the upper 60s, which will allow thunderstorms to form. Some of the thunderstorms could produce damaging wind gusts and possibly tornadoes.
Also, the potential for some isolated tornadoes and strong gusty winds exists with any thunderstorms that develop, especially for the Crystal coast area through the Outer Banks, the NWS said.

Across most of the state Thursday winds will gust 15-to-30 mph. Areas along the coast, especially across northeastern N.C., could see wind gusts of 30-to-40 mph.

Isolated severe storms across coast
While the greatest threat of thunderstorms will remain offshore, isolated severe storms are possible across portions of eastern N.C. on Thursday. Thunderstorms that develop may be capable of producing damaging wind gusts and possibly a tornado or two, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories went into effect across portions of western North Carolina Wednesday evening and will continue through 1 p.m. Thursday.

“The biggest threat for western North Carolina will be ice on power lines and scattered downed tree limbs,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in the release. “Other parts of the state will see heavy rain in areas that are already saturated. Everyone should be prepared for power outages, flooding and potentially hazardous travel conditions.”

Winter storm names
The Weather Channel has announced winter storm names to be used alphabetically for the coming winter: Avery, Bruce, Carter, Diego, Eboni, Fisher, Gia, Harper, Indra, Jayden, Kai, Lucian, Maya, Nadia, Oren, Petra, Quiana, Ryan, Scott, Taylor, Ulmer, Vaughn, Wesley, Xyler, Yvette and Zachary.

Storms get names based on winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings and ice storm warnings. A total of 24 winter storms were named by The Weather Channel throughout the country last winter.

Winter storm naming has become controversial with The Weather Channel, and others, coming up with their own names for winter storms. Some meteorologists have objected because winter storms are not as defined as hurricanes and can re-form more than once, making the process of naming difficult.

Those in favor of naming storms argue that the names help people with preparation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have stated they would not be naming winter storms and have asked others to refrain from doing so.

The National Weather Service issued the following possible impacts for the Outer Banks:








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