By Greg Hince
July 24, 2012. A severe thunderstorm watch, flash flood watch and hazardous weather outlook are in effect for parts of the High Country until late tonight, according to the National Weather Service.
A severe thunderstorm watch 510 is in effect until 8 p.m. for Ashe, Wilkes, Watauga and Yadkin counties, as well as multiple other counties in western and central North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service office out of Blacksburg, Va.
Severe thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and early evening, with scattered storms continuing overnight. Damaging wind and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning will be possible with the thunderstorms. Hail will also be possible with the stronger storms.
The series of storms is currently situated north of Mountain City, Tenn. and is moving Southeast AT 40 mph. It is expected to reach the mountains of North Carolina and travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway towards the piedmont region. Wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible with the storms, which are expected to provide a 30 minute period of very heavy rain which can cause puddles on roads and quickly fill roadside ditches and small streams.
A flash flood watch was also issued this afternoon for Ashe, Watauga and surrounding counties until 11 p.m., including the cities of West Jefferson and Boone.
Watches have been issued for portions of Northwest North Carolina, Southwest Virginia and Southeast West Virginia, and are subject to change.
Showers and thunderstorms are expected to contain heavy downpours, and humid air is spurring on their development. Rain amounts of more than 2 inches in 3 hours or less usually result in flooding.
Flash flooding can be a very dangerous situation. Though a watch only means that conditions may develop which lead to flash flooding, residents are encouraged to monitor the latest weather conditions and be prepared to take action should a warning be issued.
FOR safety, residents are encouraged not to stay in the open or seek shelter under trees when lightning threatens, but rather to move indoors when a thunderstorm approaches.
Isolated to scattered thunderstorms are also expected each day Wednesday through Monday this week, with heavy storms expected Wednesday and Friday.