Get ready for a cold and breezy Christmas; highs will reach the upper 30s

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- As strong storms moved through central North Carolina, several weather alerts were active.



10:54 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for for Edgecombe, Halifax and Wilson until 11 p.m.

10:28 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Edgecombe, Halifax and Wilson until 11 p.m.

9:58 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Franklin, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Sampson, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson until 10 p.m.

9:48 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties until 11 p.m.

9:22 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Franklin, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Sampson, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson counties until 10 p.m.

9:00 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Cumberland, Franklin, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Nash, Sampson, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson counties until 10 p.m.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Edgecombe, Halifax and Nash until 5:45 p.m.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are in effect for Johnston, Sampson, Wayne and Wilson counties until 5:30 p.m.

A Tornado Warning has been issued for Sampson, Edgecombe, Nash and Wilson counties until 4:30 p.m.

A Tornado Warning has been issued for Cumberland, Sampson, Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties until 4:30 p.m.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect for Franklin, Johnston and Wake until 4:15 p.m.

A Tornado Warning has been issued for Johnston, Sampson and Wayne counties until 4:00 p.m.

A Tornado Warning is in effect for Johnston and Wayne counties until 4:00 p.m.

A Tornado Warning is in effect for parts of Sampson, Wayne and Johnston counties until 3:15 p.m.

Another Tornado Warning is in effect for parts of Sampson County until 3:30 p.m.

A Tornado Watch has been issued for Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Nash, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson counties until 10 p.m. Thursday evening.

Mother Nature is putting some coal in our stockings with this Christmas Eve forecast.

We will see a significant system swing through this afternoon and evening.

Ahead of it, the warm air will surge into North Carolina and we get temps that are 15 to 20 degrees above average. It won't be a record (the warmest Christmas Eve ever was in 2015 at 77), but if we make our forecast high of 67, it would put us in the 10 warmest Christmas Eve highs on record.

And with all that warm air in place, the atmosphere will be primed to see a nasty line of showers of thunderstorms on Thursday afternoon into Thursday evening. The biggest threat from these storms would be damaging winds. We could see gusts in excess of 50mph. That, along with a soft ground from over an inch of rain, will be enough to bring down powerlines in spots, and cause some Christmas Eve power outages.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service increased the severe threat to a slight, 2 out 5, for most of the area and an enhanced risk, level 3 out of 5, along and east of I-95.



There's also a 10% chance of an isolated tornado spinning up. That threat is highest along and east of the I-95 corridor. That may not sound like much, but if I said to you on an airplane "This flight has a 10% chance of crashing," you might think twice about flying.

Just be sure to stay weather aware today. We will be watching the system and getting a better idea of the timing on its arrival throughout the day.


The other big part of this system is the cold air that plunges in on Thursday night. On Christmas Day the highs will stay in the 30s and the wind chills might not make it out of the 20s! This would put Christmas 2020 in the top 10 coldest high temps for Christmas ever. The coldest, BTW, was in 1983 at a bitter 19!

Saturday we will wake up to wind chills in the teens and the coldest morning of the year, even colder than February 22nd when we went to 22. We do warm into the 40s by the afternoon.
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