RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There is the possibility for strong to severe storms across Central Virginia later this afternoon and evening.

A tornado watch has just been issued for several counties in our area until 9 p.m. tonight. This includes metro Richmond.

The National Weather Service has now upgraded the risk level from “Enhanced” to “Moderate” for counties north and west of Richmond. The last time Central Virginia was at this risk level was in 2019.

The main threats from those storms will be damaging winds in excess of 70 miles per hour, which could take down some small trees and even knock out power in some areas. Central Virginia’s wind threat is now at 45% meaning that around one in every two storms are expected to have damaging winds.

The other big threat is that we could see heavy downpours for a short period of time. This is significant because heavy rain from yesterday has caused the ground in Central Virginia to be soaked — any additional rainfall that comes down heavy and fast will not soak in and could result in localized flash flooding.

There is also the chance that we might see some small hail — probably less than one inch, so not what we consider severe hail.

There is the possibility we could see a tornado develop, although those risks are much lower than the damaging wind and heavy downpour threats.

The most likely timeframe for those storms is from 2 to 10 p.m. Specifically, it looks like areas to the west — from the Shenandoah Valley to Prince Edward and Cumberland County — should see the storm threat from 2 to 4 p.m. Areas just to the west of metro Richmond — including Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, and Amelia counties — may see those storms between 4 and 5 p.m.  While Metro Richmond and the Tri-Cities will see them between about 5:30 to 7 p.m. They will then be moving to the east across Charles City, New Kent, King William, King and Queen counties and out across the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck between 7 and 10 p.m.

After 10 p.m., the threat of severe weather will be out of Central Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic and slightly dryer air will move in for Tuesday, which will be very pleasant.