Schools in the Charlottesville area are sending students home early Thursday afternoon as a cold front moves into the area that could bring severe thunderstorms, damaging wind gusts, hail and possibly a few tornadoes.
Thursday’s White Hall District Town Hall meeting for discussing the 2023 Budget was also cancelled, due to the closure of the Broadus Wood Elementary School.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook early Thursday morning for portions of eastern West Virginia, northern and central Virginia, and central and western Maryland.
In response to the forecast, the Albemarle County school division said it would dismiss students two hours early. All afterschool activities were canceled along with the Extended Day Enrichment Program. The Charlottesville, Louisa County, Fluvanna County, Nelson County and Greene County school divisions made similar announcements.
Scattered showers are expected for the rest of Thursday morning until about 1 to 2 p.m., but the storm will pick up in the late afternoon and early evening, said Kevin Witt, a forecaster with the NWS’s office in Sterling.
Witt said the strongest and most severe storms are expected from 5 to 10 p.m. when a cold front combines with a low-pressure system that’s moving quickly across Kentucky and West Virginia. Once that system gets to the mountains, he expects it to produce damaging winds.
He encouraged people to be alert and cautioned that storms could continue overnight.
“Any peaks of sunshine [this afternoon] is going to add to the instability and make the storms stronger,” Witt said. “There’s a lot of wind with the system.”