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A severe weather system that brought snow to much of the western US is tracking toward the Carolinas.

After Winter Storm Xylia hammered the Denver, Colorado metro area with more than two feet of snow, the same system is expected to bring thunderstorms with hail and possible long track tornadoes to Central North Carolina and the entire South Carolina Midlands on Thursday.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. issued the highest risk level for severe weather in Mississippi and Alabama for Wednesday, and a level 4 out of 5 risk for portions of Georgia and the Carolinas for Thursday.

“This is the highest confidence in severe weather from the government agency in the past 2 years,” according to reports. Strong storms are expected to arrive mid-morning Thursday and will become more powerful into the afternoon. The threat for significant EF2 or greater tornadoes is likely.


Wednesday night and early Thursday morning is the time to plan ahead for the severe weather that will move through Thursday afternoon.

Here is a storm checklist:

Know your county: Check the map to make sure you know the exact location of your county and the counties surrounding you. If there is a watch or warning a few counties over, it can give you better time to prepare.

Know your safe place for tornado warnings: What’s the safest place to hide during a tornado? The best places to consider going first would be a cellar, designated storm shelter, safe room or a basement. If none of those options are available to you, get to the lowest level of your home and the most interior room. This is typically a windowless interior room such as a bathroom, closet, inner hallway or laundry room.

Charge your devices: Make sure you have your phone, tablet and other devices charged in case of emergency or if there is a power outage.

Have several ways to get warnings: There are not tornado sirens in all of North Carolina’s counties to warn people. Make sure EAS alerts are turned on your mobile devices. WBT will break into programming anytime there is a tornado warning in our area.