Spring Outlook: New season brings higher threat for severe weather in Carolinas

CHARLOTTE — After an unusually mild winter across the Carolinas and the country, we’re just days away from spring. But with that comes the threat of severe weather.

So what can we expect over the next few months? Severe Weather Center 9′s Meteorologist John Ahrens is mapping it all out.

March, April and May are three of the most dangerous months on the calendar in the Carolinas. Hail, wind and tornadoes are all common risks, and they happen as we watch the changing of the guard from winter cold to spring warmth.

We all know that warm air rises -- the warmer the bottom part of the atmosphere becomes, the higher that air goes. Meanwhile, the middle part of the atmosphere is still cool but it needs to get its act together after winter. That means that air rises even more, creating towering cumulonimbus clouds that are responsible for destructive weather.

Severe weather can happen any month here, but the spring months are especially active. In fact, the month of April averages the most tornadic activity in North Carolina.

An EF-1 tornado hit Charlotte’s Hickory Grove neighborhood last May. And last year, from March through April, we had eight tornadoes, including two EF-2 tornadoes with winds of up to 135 miles per hour.

Looking ahead

As for 2023 -- there are no real monthly severe weather outlooks like, for example, a hurricane forecast. There are too many dynamics involved.

What we do know is we’re coming off one of the warmest Februarys on record. Big storms with strong upper winds are already coming out of the South, enhancing the spin potential for these storms.

In other words, the stage is set.

We may not live in Tornado Alley, but severe weather is a very real threat in the Carolinas.

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(WATCH BELOW: Drought officially over for Charlotte area after much rainfall)