Bands of severe storms could rumble through the Triangle late Wednesday, following a day that could break records for high temperatures.
National Weather Service forecasters in Raleigh issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook that says there’s a slight chance for hail, thunderstorms and strong southwest winds with occasional gusts near 35 to 40 mph.
The strongest storms are expected in the western Piedmont between 6 and 10 p.m. and the rest of central North Carolina between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
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Despite the risk of severe weather, the storms are not expected to bring much rain. The weather service expects between a tenth and a quarter inch of rain.
The storms will usher in cooler air following what could be record warmth Wednesday. Forecasters expect the high that could hit 83 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, exceeding the record of 82 for March 1 set in 1997. The average daily temperature for March 1 is 58.
For the remaining part of the week, temperatures will be closer to normal with highs near 60 and lows in the low 30s, forecasters said.
With not much rain, and windy days ahead, the weather service also warns of an elevated risk for wildfires on Friday, when winds are expected to gust to 25 mph.
The potentially record-setting temperatures Wednesday come on the heels of the hottest February on record in the Triangle, breaking the previous record set in Raleigh 127 years ago. The average temperature for Raleigh this February was 52.9 degrees breaking, just eclipsing the old 1890 record of 52.7 degrees.
The temperature record in Raleigh goes back to 1887.