Officials wary of approaching storms

Randolph County and the surrounding area can expect to be buffeted by thunderstorms today and this evening, officials said – but how extreme the storms will be is uncertain.

“There is a moderate risk of severe weather for Ohio, just to our west, and a slight risk for most of West Virginia,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin McGrath said Tuesday.

“We’re going to continue to assess the situation and as the weather event approaches we’ll be better able to pinpoint the exact geographic areas that may be affected,” McGrath said.

The NWS is calling for severe thunderstorms in our region beginning today and lasting through Thursday. Some of the storms could be severe, with large hail and damaging winds, the forecast states.

A hazardous weather outlook has been released by the NWS for Northeast Kentucky, Southeast Ohio and much of West Virginia.

“The biggest threat will be damaging winds and large hail, although an isolated tornado is also possible,” the release states.

Jim Wise of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management said he is also watching the storm system.

“There’s a possibility of some severe thunderstorms, but I’ll be able to get a better handle on it Wednesday morning,” Wise said Tuesday. “It’s hard to predict longterm, even a day or two ahead, so if things change in the forecast we’ll probably start to see it then.”

The NWS predicts that the storms will calm down Thursday night, and forecasts mostly sunny skies Friday, with a high of 73 degrees.

Going into the weekend, the NWS predicts sunny skies and highs in the mid-70s on Saturday and Sunday.

The website is also forecasting “a likelihood of severe thunderstorms featuring damaging winds, hail and flash flooding from South Dakota to Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“Part of this area could be hit by an intense thunderstorm complex, known as a derecho,” states. “A derecho is challenging to predict, but there is a possibility of a derecho forming in the thunderstorm pattern this week. Derechos evolve from thunderstorm complexes.”

Last June, a derecho caused wide power outages and extensive property damage in the region.