Fuquay, Angier, Sanford hammered by hail; tornado warnings dominate evening rush
Posted September 1
Raleigh, N.C. — Widespread hail damage was reported in communities including Angier, Sanford and Fuquay-Varina Friday afternoon. A severe storm in southwest Wake County damaged windshields and prompted tornado warnings across central North Carolina.
At about 5 p.m., law enforcement officers spotted a tornado 11 miles northeast of Lillington, moving east at 40 mph. That sparked a series of warnings and damage reports over the next two hours as the weather system moved from the southeastern quarter of the state to the north and east.
Residents of southwest Wake County reported outsized and heavy hail, and damage was reported at the Magnetti Marrelli plant in Sanford at 2101 Nash St.
Others saw windshields and car windows burst by the falling hail and vinyl siding damaged. Trees were down in parts of Sanford.
The National Weather Service had much of central North Carolina under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. That watch included Wake, Chatham, Harnett, Johnston and Cumberland counties.
Heavy rain and hail at up to softball size and more pounded the central part of the state through the evening rush hour. At the peak of the storm, thousands of customers lost power and traffic signals were offline, complicating the situation for drivers slowed by the storm.
One to 2 inches of rain was expected to fall across the Triangle by Saturday, and highs Friday only managed to reach the mid-70s.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said most of the rain would be out of the area by late Friday.
The potential for "hit and miss" showers and thunderstorms remains high through Saturday before the weather clears up, WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said.
"Once we get to the second half of our weekend, things are looking good. It's just going to be rough for the first part of the holiday weekend," she said.
Temperatures warm to the low 80s on Saturday and the mid 80s on Sunday.
"Sunday looks great. High pressure moves in. We'll have a lot of sunshine," Wilmoth said.
The sunny, warming trend will continue on Labor Day, she said, with highs in the upper 80s.