Storm threat is over but rain will continue
Posted May 24
Raleigh, N.C. — No damage was reported after multiple tornado warnings were issued Wednesday night for Johnston, Sampson, Wayne, Nash, Edgecombe and Halifax counties.
Tornado watches for parts of central North Carolina, including Durham, Wake and Johnston counties, all expired earlier than anticipated as the storm system moved toward the Virginia line at about 8 p.m.
"We're very fortunate the situation didn't materialize where we saw tornadoes touching down and creating damage," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said that it appeared there was some limiting factor at work that was preventing tornadoes like the one that touched down in Autryville Tuesday afternoon from forming despite multiple warnings.
Although no tornadoes were reported in or around the Triangle, some western counties saw funnel clouds and significant damage.
Courtney Elementary School gymnasium in Yadkin County, to the west of Winston-Salem was destroyed by a tornado at about 4:20 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. School was not in session when the storm moved through, and no students were in the building although several employees and teachers were present.
No injuries were reported, according to Yadkin County school officials.
Several vehicles flipped and people were trapped inside homes in Yadkin County as well.
Although the threat of severe weather has dissipated, the rain is expected to continue.
Parts of Wilson, Wayne and Johnston counties got about 1.5 inches of rain over the last 24 hours. That rainfall, coupled with anything that fell since the storms began on Monday, and another 1 to 2 inches expected on Wednesday, could lead to flooding in some counties around the region.
"One to 2 inches on their own – just a day of 1 to 2 inches – wouldn't necessarily cause any flooding, but because we've had easily 2 inches of rain as an average across the area over the last couple of days, any additional rain could cause some flooding," WRAL meteorologist Gardner said.
The chance for severe weather lingers into Thursday, too, but Maze said that threat appears to be minimal.
On Friday, the skies could clear, revealing the sun.
"I think by Friday we should see the clouds breaking up, and we'll see a little sunshine," Gardner said. "We may even see a little of it tomorrow.
"But we're still not out of the woods in terms of our chance of afternoon thunderstorms."