Cooler weekend temps bring greater chance of storms for central NC

Posted July 29
Updated July 31

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— The blistering heat through the week did not bring many storms, but the weekend will have a greater chance of producing inclement weather.

Heavy storms moved into counties north of Wake County Saturday evening. The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Warren County at 6:48 p.m. which expired for the area at 7:15 p.m.

“No indications that we had any major damage from that [Warren County tornado warning]," WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said. "We’re still tracking some thunderstorms rolling through the viewing area.”

Several downed trees were reported on Paschal Station Road in Warrenton around 7:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Durham, Orange and Person counties Saturday evening until 8 p.m.

“We still have a pretty decent chance of getting some thunderstorms at least until midnight, maybe even a few hours after,” Wilmoth said.

Highs on Saturday will top out in the low-to-mid 90s across central North Carolina, while Sunday will be partly cloudy and not quite as hot.

Wilmoth said another round of scattered storms are likely during the afternoon and evening on Sunday.

However, a cool-down is on the way Tuesday as temperatures drop into the 80s.

Triple-digit heat index puts farmers at risk

As the heat index rose into the triple digits for the seventh straight day in Cumberland County on Friday, tobacco farmers had to get out early before the workers got too hot.

Duane Smith has been farming for more than 30 years. This week, the heat has been brutal on his crew in the fields cropping tobacco.

"In the afternoon we are going to let them rest and stay in the shade," Smith said. "Sometimes, we might go back in at 6 p.m. and we might work until 8 p.m. when it cools off a little bit. But pretty much from 12 p.m. to 5p.m., we are not going to do anything in this kind of weather."

Smith's crew moved quickly Friday morning, stopping to get drinks of water.

Smith said he talked with his crew about heat-related issues before the head out into the fields.

"We try to educate them on the heat stress," he said. "We show them a video and we push the Gatorade and the water 50-50, or a little bit more water than gatorade."

Smith said the first priority is to make sure his workers stay safe. And while getting the crop out of the field is about timing, sometimes Mother Nature can throw a wrench in the clock.

"It is a timing issue," he said. "It's time to go so, so maybe in a few days this high pressure system will move on by us a little and we can drop down into ths low 90s."


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