More rain expected today, with severe storms overnight

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 24, 2012 

Have a soggy, foggy Christmas -- that's the forecast here: It won't snow, but winds will blow, and storms could be severe.

And it could be Wednesday afternoon before the skies again clear, after risky overnight storms.

Santa may have needed Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer last night, as the National Weather Service expected dense fog to last into this Christmas morning.

Today's forecast anticipates areas of drizzle before 8 a.m., rain from then until 2 p.m., then more rain and possibly thunderstorms through the day, with a high of 66 degrees.

Tonight area residents might want to leave the weather radios on before they get snug in their beds. From around midnight to 5 a.m., powerful thunderstorms with possibly damaging winds are expected to move across the Southeast.

"I think the big thing everyone needs to know is that this is probably the strongest system we've seen this season," said WRBL chief meteorologist Bob Jeswald. "Because of the nature of it -- it's traveling and it's Christmas Day -- people get comfortable and they may not be paying attention to the media. It's just a good time to know that overnight could be a little tricky, so be mindful of the late hours."

He said a squall line ahead of a sweeping cold front may bring "isolated super-cell thunderstorms." Those can blast out winds powerful enough to clear a lawn of loose holiday decorations well ahead of the homeowner's cleanup schedule.

"There could be a pop-up, spin-up or weak tornado by the time it gets here," Jeswald said of the coming front. "It's an area of low pressure that's dipping quite far south. It's low pressure with a lot of cold Canadian air wrapped inside of it."

Until that front arrives, today's weather likely will be much like Mondays, with intermittent periods of rain, but warmer, he said.

Strong winds could linger into Wednesday, when the National Weather Service says 10 to 15 mph west winds will accelerate to 20 mph and could gust up to 35 mph.

The high is to be 55.

Skies finally will clear that evening, when the low is expected to drop to 32 degrees.

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