UPDATE: 5:53 p.m.
Lynchburg, VA - The National Weather Service has dropped the Flash Flood Watch that was in effect for a good part of the ABC 13 Viewing Area Wednesday, along with parts of the Tornado Watch as well.
The most severe storms are moving into the Farmville area and the main threat for tornadoes is shifting farther east and north of our area.
Wind damage was reported in Bedford County from a downed tree.
Areas along and east of Highway 29 are still in the severe risk, however through at least 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Lynchburg, VA - After recent heavy rains, the air remains very moist and unstable Monday afternoon. Temperatures have warmed well into the 70s, even near 80 in spots, adding to the instability.
When the air is unstable, it tends to rise upward very fast, helping to trigger severe thunderstorms.
In addition to the muggy, warm weather, there is also a lot of wind energy to work with Monday. The wind near the ground is blowing from the south, while the wind just a few thousand feet high is blowing faster and from the southwest.
The changing of wind speed and direction with height is called wind shear, and is what allows storms to rotate, possibly enough for isolated tornadoes.
The Storm Prediction Center has most of the ABC 13 Viewing Area under a Tornado Watch until 10 p.m. A WATCH means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. You should be prepared in the event of a Warning, which is more immediate.
Should a Tornado Warning be issued for your area, the safest place to go is a basement, away from windows. If you don't have a basement, get into an interior closet or bathroom and use pillows or a mattress to cover your body. Be sure to cover your head. Never try to outrun a tornado. Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes. If you have a friend, family member, or neighbor with a sturdy shelter, make arrangements to stay with them should a warning be issued.
Rotating or not, Monday's system has the potential to produce damaging winds. Straight line winds can be just as powerful as a tornado, so don't let your guard down just because a storm may not produce an actual tornado.
In addition to the Tornado Watch, the ground is still saturated from recent heavy rains.
A Flash Flood Watch also covers most of the ABC 13 Viewing Area through Wednesday. Rainfall rates of 1-3" an hour in heavier storms could send creeks and streams out of their banks. Watch low-lying areas during heavy rain and never drive across a flooded roadway.
- ABC 13 Meteorologist Jamey Singleton