The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch until 8 p.m. Sunday evening for much of eastern Kentucky and East Tennessee, including Scott and all neighboring counties.
A total of 31 Tennessee counties are included in the tornado watch, along with most of Kentucky.
The tornado watch came even as the SPC scaled back some of its ominous warnings of what the day might have in store, as an unseasonable weather setup unfolds across the region.
On Sunday morning, the SPC highlighted an area of eastern Kentucky and Virginia, extending south to the Tennessee border, in a moderate risk zone for severe weather. Early Sunday afternoon, the SPC removed that designation, but continued to highlight an elevated risk of severe weather for the eastern two-thirds of Tennessee, all of Kentucky, and areas to the north and east.
The SPC continued to highlight a 10 percent risk area for tornadoes in eastern Kentucky, with a five percent risk area for tornadoes along the northern Cumberland Plateau and the northern tier of counties in East Tennessee.
Additionally, the SPC outlined a 30 percent risk area for damaging winds along the northern plateau and points east and north, along with a 30 percent risk for damaging hail for the same general area. The northern Cumberland Plateau was included in a specific risk for a 10 percent or greater possibility of hail measuring at least two inches within 25 miles of any point.
In a hazardous weather outlook posted Sunday morning, the NWS’s Morristown field office warned of the possibility of “numerous strong to severe thunderstorms” with the potential for “widespread damaging winds, very large hail up to golfball size, and locally heavy rainfall,” in addition to “an isolated tornado or two.”
In a late-morning forecast update, meteorologists at NWS-Morristown predicted thunderstorms to impact the area of the northern plateau by mid afternoon.