|April 17-18 Hailstorms
WILMINGTON, NC - Widespread severe thunderstorms produced hail to 1.5 inches in diameter and wind damage across much of southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina Sunday evening and during the early morning hours on Monday. Before the event would come to an end, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings would be issued for each of the 14 counties in the NWS Wilmington County Warning Area (CWA). Many counties were warned multiple times as round after round of severe storms plowed through.
The event began innocently enough Sunday afternoon as an isolated storm developed along the seabreeze over Columbus County, NC...a common occurrence for this area during the spring and summer months. This storm prompted the first warning of the day at 3:42 PM, and 1/2 inch hail was reported near Lake Waccamaw.
The airmass continued to destabilize during the late afternoon and evening as cold air aloft filtered in from the northwest. An area of surface low pressure moved across upstate South Carolina and seemed to provide the trigger for the storms that were yet to come.
By 9:00 PM, severe storms were developing over Florence and Darlington Counties in South Carolina. The second warning was issued at 9:01 PM. Additional storms were getting better organized further west, and a line began to move into Darlington and Marlboro Counties by 10 PM. This line would remain intact until it moved off the coast around 2:30 AM Sunday morning. The 27th and final Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued at 1:58 AM.
In addition, three Special Marine Warnings were issued for the coastal waters between Murrells Inlet, SC and Surf City, NC. A waterspout was sighted approximately 3 miles off the coast of Sunset Beach, reported by law enforcement.