Orange County suffered damage Friday afternoon as a storm swept through central North Carolina and “ripped large pieces from an exterior wall “of a warehouse in Mebane, authorities said.
While National Weather Service officials did not confirm a tornado had touched down, witnesses calling 911 reported seeing a funnel cloud, said Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders in a press release.
Damage was caused to “several structures in the E. Washington Street area,” Orange County Emergency Services reported. in a tweet. “Please be aware of downed power lines due to high winds associated with the storm. Suppose all the power lines are live and not approaching.
Severe damage was reported to Gildan’s distribution center in Mebane, Orange County, in a news release. There were 30 people inside the facility, but no injuries were reported, Orange County said.
Fallen trees and downed power lines were reported on Frazier and Mace Roads, Orange County reported.
“Multiple Rounds of Storms” are possible throughout the region on the afternoon and evening of Friday, May 6, according to the National Weather Service. The main risks are expected until 10 p.m.
The weather could bring risks of isolated tornadoes, high winds and hail the size of ping-pong balls.
In the Triangle, less than a tenth of an inch of rain is expected during the day, with more possibility overnight and during thunderstorms, according to the forecast for Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Durham, Orange, Wake and other counties in the region have been raised to an “increased risk” of severe weather, which is level 3 out of 5. The severe thunderstorm warning for Durham expired at 6:20 p.m. and tornado warnings expired for Durham, Orange and Person counties at 6:00 p.m.
“Damaging winds are the threat most likely to accompany storms in this system,” reports ABC11, media partner of The News & Observer. “These winds could be above 58 miles per hour. Additionally, the conditions increased the risk of hail and tornadoes forming. These risks are highest in the northern part of central North Carolina, extending as far south as Raleigh.
The Raleigh area is also under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Watches are issued when residents of a certain area need to prepare for the potential for tornadoes, while warnings mean tornadoes pose an imminent threat, according to the weather service.
The predictions led Durham Public Schools to announce that the district was ending classes two hours earlier on Friday. Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Johnston and Wake Schools have canceled after-school activities.
Severe weather should last until Friday evening, and rain is possible again on Saturday. The sky should be cloudy – but without rain – by Sunday, forecasters said.
The thunderstorms are believed to be part of the same system that spawned tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, according to ABC11. Like the storms move to North Carolinaseveral parts of the state face “upgrades” extreme weather hazards.
This story was originally published May 6, 2022 8:57 a.m.