RALEIGH — Unsettled weather has led to the issuance of tornado warnings and watches for parts of both Carolinas, effective until 9 p.m. Sunday. Tornadoes, hail up to 2 inches in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts to 80 mph and dangerous lightning are possible in the designated areas. Several tornado warnings were issued by late afternoon. ANYONE IN A WARNING AREA IS ADVISED TO GET AWAY FROM WINDOWS, GO TO AN INTERIOR ROOM OR CLOSET ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OR GO TO THE BASEMENT IMMEDIATELY. COVER YOUR HEAD. GET OUT OF MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES AND GO TO A STURDY BUILDING OR A DITCH.
In addition, Alamance County was the subject of a severe thunderstorm warning until 6:15 p.m. A severe thunderstorm was seen 5 miles north of Burlington, moving northeast at 40 mph.
During the afternoon and early evening, various tornado warnings had been issued for Union, Rockingham, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Lincoln, Gaston and Cabarrus Counties.
Check in with theWRAL-TV5 Weather Centerfor the latest updates.
Amateur radio operators and severe weather spotter groups are requested to relay storm information to the National Weather Service. Everyone is encouraged to report any damaging weather to law enforcement for relay to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Rockingham County in north central North Carolina until 5:10 p.m. At 4:20 a severe thunderstorm was seen 20 miles south/southwest of Martinsville, or 1 mile west/southwest of Mayodan, moving northeast at 45 mph. Consequently, severe weather is also expected to touch Stoneville, Price, Eden and Draper.
The North Carolina tornado watch includes the following cities: Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Burlington, Sanford, Greensboro, Kinston, Asheboro, Charlotte, Goldsboro, Greenville, Lexington and Winston-Salem.
Fifty-three counties are under tornado watch in the following parts of North Carolina: Along the coast, Camden, Chowan, Pasquotank, Perquimans and the mainland portions of Currituck; in the Coastal Plain, Bertie, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Pitt, Richmond, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson.
In the Piedmont, the following counties are under the watch: Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Granville, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, Union, Vance, Wake and Warren.
In western and central South Carolina, the tornado watch area is along and 70 statute miles east and west of a line from 55 miles southwest of Columbia to 50 miles north/northwest of Florence.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. People in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.
Thunderstorms will intensify over the watch area as a cold front moves into the region of a moist, unstable air mass.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., has issued a flood warning for small creeks and streams in Rockingham, Stokes and Surry Counties in North Carolina, and north central Henry County and Patrick County in Virginia until 7:10 p.m. Doppler radar indicated very heavy rain moving across those counties. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour is possible. The rain will taper off after 6 p.m.
Motorists are advised not to drive across flooded roads; most flash flood deaths occur in cars. And it only takes 2 feet of standing water to float a car away.