The Latest: All tornado watches for the Triangle cancelled as storm exits the region
7:56 p.m.: State Rep. Graig Meyer, who lives in Orange County, told WRAL News about the damage done when trees fell in his yard, making it difficult to get in and out of the house.
7:35 p.m.: All tornado watches for areas in the Triangle have been cancelled, 30 minutes before they were set to expire. “The severe weather threat is over,” WRAL meteorologist Kat Campbell said.
7:18 p.m.: Tornado warning for Northampton County has been extended until 7:30 p.m.
6:57 p.m.: The worst of the storm has moved out of the region, according to WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze.
6:45 p.m.: The only county that remains under a tornado warning is Northampton County, and it expires at 7 p.m., Maze said. He said the threat for severe weather on Saturday is minimal.
6:31 p.m.: The only counties that remain under a tornado warning are Halifax, Warren and Mecklenburg, Virginia,
6:13 p.m.: Edgecombe, Halifax and Nash counties under a tornado warning. The warnings expire at 6:45 p.m.
5:54 p.m.: Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood told reporter Sarah Krueger that no injuries have been reported but several large trees were knocked down in the area of Old N.C. Highway 86 and I-40. He said some buildings suffered damage as the storm moved through the area.
5:46 p.m.: Tornado warning issued for Granville, Vance and Warren counties.
5:44 p.m.: Chatham County reports that a possible minor tornado touched down on the north side of Siler City. The Chatham County Emergency Management said no injuries were reported, but two structures did suffer damage, including a warehouse with roof damage and there were reports of numerous trees that were felled by the storm.
5:38 p.m.: Tornado warning for Johnston County has been cancelled.
5:21 p.m.: Tornado warning issued for southeastern parts of Johnston County until 5:45 p.m. A tornado was seen on the ground near Smithfield.
5:12 p.m.: Harnett County tornado warning has been cancelled.
4:57 p.m.: Tornado warning for Durham, Orange, Orange and Person counties has been extended until 5:45 p.m.
4:49 p.m.: Todd McGee, the Orange County, community relations official said the county has received reports of damage, mainly in the area of Interstate 40 at Exit 261.
4:40 p.m.: WRAL News viewer says tornado came through Whitecross area in Orange County, and several trees were felled during the incident.
4:39 p.m.: The Harnett County tornado warning has been extended until 5:15 p.m.
4:37 p.m.: Tornado warning has been issued for Granville and Person counties until 5 p.m.
4:35 p.m.: Wake County is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 5:30 p.m.
4:13 p.m.: Tornado warning issued for Edgecombe, Halifax and Nash counties.
4:01 p.m. A tornado warning has been issued for Caswell, Orange and Durham counties that go until 4:30 p.m.
3:52 p.m. Tornado warning issued for Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Moore counties. The warning goes until 4:15 p.m.
3:43 p.m.: Wilson County now under a tornado warning
3:25 p.m.: Southeastern parts of Wayne County now under a tornado warning that goes until 3:45 p.m.
3:17 p.m.: WakeMed Urgent Care locations at Ashville Avenue in Cary, Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh, and Forestville Crossing in Raleigh will close at 3 pm because of severe weather.
3:15 p.m.: The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro has posted a message on its website, notifying users that the zoo closed at 1 p.m. because of severe weather.
3:12 p.m.: Over 8,000 customers are without power
3:01 p.m.: Storms expected to arrive in northern part of Moore County and the southern part of Chatham County any moment, Maze said.
2:50 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for Chatham, Lee, southeastern Randolph and Sampson counties. Maze says if you are in those areas, take cover and be on alert for a tornado.
2:45 p.m.: Central Bladen County under a tornado warning and Maze said a similar warning has been issued for Sampson County that goes until 3:15 p.m.
2:35 p.m.: Tornado warning issued for Bladen and Moore counties. WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze says he expects the warnings to spread to other counties.
12:56 p.m.: Raleigh-Durham International Airport reporting 57 delays and 16 flight cancellations. Check with your carrier if you have airline travel plans today.
12:45 p.m.: Several callers to the WRAL Newsroom are reporting falling trees. Two large trees reported to have fallen on a house and it damaged a car at a home on Patrick Road and Ward Road in Raleigh.
12:23 p.m.: — Duke Energy says 19,000 people are without power around North Carolina, including 7,000 customers in Wake County and 3,000 customers in Durham.
11:50 a.m. — A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Johnston, Wake, Wayne, Wilson and Sampson counties.
11:37 a.m. — Storms linked to two deaths in the Deep South. It’s the same system headed to North Carolina.
11:19 a.m. — The active tornado warnings have expired.
11:06 a.m. — A tornado warning was issued for Vance County, west central Warren County, northeastern Granville County and northwestern Franklin County.
10:50 a.m. — A tree was reported down on power lines in Raleigh off of Glenwood Avenue.
10:45 a.m. — A tornado watch was issued for several counties in central North Carolina.
10:30 a.m. — The active tornado warnings have expired.
10:07 a.m. — The tornado warning for Orange County has been canceled.
10 a.m. — A tornado warning has been issued for Caswell County until 10:30 a.m.
9:46 a.m. — A tornado warning has been issued for Orange, Alamance and Person counties until 10:30 a.m.
The U.S. Storm Prediction Center upgraded the Triangle’s threat for severe weather on Friday to a level 4 of 5, which means the area is at a major risk for severe thunderstorms, particularly in the evening.
“We hardly ever see a risk that’s this high in our area,” meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said, adding that it’s important to have a severe weather preparedness plan for yourself and your family.
The last time Central and Eastern North Carolina was under a level 4 risk was in February 2016.
On Friday morning, organizations were already preparing for the storm. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will dismiss students two hours early. The Durham Rescue Mission canceled its Easter celebration because of the storm’s danger.
The storm system is expected to come in two waves, Gardner said: one around midday and one in the evening.
While scattered showers are possible in the Triangle around 7 and 8 a.m., one of the storm waves will come in around 11 a.m. Isolated thunderstorms are possible.
There’s a lull in activity around 3 p.m., but an even more intense storm arrives around 5 p.m.
It is expected to bring dangerous winds, large hail, downpours and tornadoes.
WRAL’s power outage index model was predicting outages throughout the state, with outages becoming dense between 9 and 11 p.m.
The incoming storm system has already produced a cluster of tornadoes in the Jackson, Mississippi, area. Numerous instances of wind damage were reported in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama on Thursday.
Two people in Mississippi and one person in Alabama died in the storms.
The storm is expected to move east out of the Triangle around 11 p.m.
An inch to an inch and a half of rain is expected in the Triangle.
WRAL traffic reporter Brian Shrader advises drivers to stay off the road if possible during the storm. It’s dangerous to drive through flooded streets, and motorists should turn around if they encounter any.