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Storm Prediction Center issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Charlottesville area

Primary threats include damaging wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour, large hail of up to 1.5 inches in diameter

SPC placed Charlottesville and much of Virginia under a “slight” threat of severe weather, a two out of five on their severe thunderstorm risk categories.
SPC placed Charlottesville and much of Virginia under a “slight” threat of severe weather, a two out of five on their severe thunderstorm risk categories.

The Storm Prediction Center and the U.S. National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the Charlottesville area from 1:50 to 8 p.m. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued at 4:08 p.m. and is expected to last until 5 p.m. The watch includes much of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland while the warning pertains mostly to the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. 

“Multiple multicell clusters are expected to develop east-northeast from the Blue Ridge and pose a risk for scattered damaging winds and isolated large hail,” the National Weather Service said.

The watch warns of wind gusts of greater than 70 miles per hour and hail up to one-and-a-half inch diameter. Tornadoes can also form from severe thunderstorms, though tornadoes are not a primary threat today.

SPC placed Charlottesville and much of Virginia under a “slight” threat of severe weather, a two out of five on their severe thunderstorm risk categories. 

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms development in and around the watch area. Individuals within the watch area should pay attention to the weather and be ready to seek shelter.

Within a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning may be issued, meaning that a thunderstorm is producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds are equaling or exceeding 58 miles an hour. A warning was issued less than three hours after the thunderstorm watch was first announced. According to the NWS announcement of the warning for the Charlottesville area, “damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.” The NWS has advised individuals to remain indoors on the lowest floor of their building.

When a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Warning is issued, the University does not send out an alert. If a Tornado Warning was issued, a U.Va. Alert would be sent out through many platforms, including text, email, University displays and emergency sirens. 

“We don’t send a U.Va. Alert in the case of a severe thunderstorm warning, as there is typically advance notice, such as the rumble of thunder in the distance as the storm approaches,” Director of Emergency Management John DeSilva said in an email to The Cavalier Daily.

This story has been updated to reflect that a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for the Charlottesville-Albemarle area at 4:08 p.m.

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