Threat of wind, hail, isolated tornadoes prompts schools to delay classes

Posted April 5

— The threat of strong winds, hail and isolated tornadoes Thursday morning has prompted several school districts to delay classes.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said that, despite earlier predictions that showed the severe weather beginning at about 2 a.m., it could be sunrise before storms make their way into the Triangle. The storms could produce damaging winds, hail, possible localized flooding and an isolated tornado.

"We're really not looking at anything scary here until about 5 or 6 in the morning," Fishel said. "There is some uncertainty about how strong it will be when it gets here, but the potential is too strong to ignore."

Because of the weather risks during the early-morning hours, when school buses would be on the road, schools in Johnston, Harnett, Wayne and Wilson counties announced they would operate on a two-hour delay Thursday. Edgecombe County schools announced they would operate on a three-hour delay Thursday.

Full list of closings and delays

Fishel said the threat of severe weather should subside by about 10 a.m.

A tornado watch was issued for Bladen, Columbus and Robeson counties through 8 p.m. Wednesday, and much of the area is under a wind advisory through Friday.

"I would not be surprised if we did have tornado warnings later on this evening and overnight," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said, adding that damaging winds and golf-ball-sized hail could come with the storms.

Download the WRAL Weather apps to get the most up-to-date information as storms roll in

Fishel suggested that people set up alerts on their phone in the event a tornado moves through overnight.

"You may need to be awake and take action, at least on an isolated basis, later tonight," he said.

Severe Weather Alerts - NC

The strongest storms will hit farther south in Georgia and Alabama, where many areas are under a high risk for severe weather. Most of North Carolina, though, is under a slight risk for severe weather, which is the second level of a five-level risk system.

Winds on Thursday could gust up to 45 mph and Maze said the strong winds bring an increased change for power outages across the region.

"The rest of the day should be uneventful other than the fact that the wind is going to howl all day long," Fishel said.


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  • Pat Queen Apr 6, 2:40 a.m.
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    HA HA! He's a professional bull rider, silly!

  • Albert Holmes Apr 5, 9:59 p.m.
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    I am not making fun of Clifton. He may know what he is talking about. I just couldn't figure out who he was because I had never heard of him on the weather news.

  • Kelly Birdsall Apr 5, 7:40 p.m.
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    Y'all better hope he doesn't have the last laugh!

  • Brody Clifton Apr 5, 5:28 p.m.
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    A guy trying to save lives for folks in his state.

  • Brody Clifton Apr 5, 5:27 p.m.
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    Im trying to save lives, yours included. mines safe ill be in a storm cellar all night. TV dropped the ball on this.

  • Brody Clifton Apr 5, 3:58 p.m.
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    "If a tornado warning is issued for your area, move to a place of safety, ideally in a basement/(storm cellar) or interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building." Every spring I dread this could happen for our area (or anywhere in USA). It's going to happen.

    1st floor bathroom or closet with matresses/pillows/bicycle or motorcycle helmets on/ if no underground access is available. The tornadoes, especially I-95 corridor east, have the chance to be violent. Models have continued to suggest strong (EF2/EF3) tornadoes could be COMMON by the time its all over. DO NOT STAY IN MOBILE HOMES TONIGHT OVERNIGHT or MORNING until the last tornado warned storm is out of the region. These will have the potential to take lives.

  • Steve Morgan Apr 5, 3:50 p.m.
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    My guest is a weather hobbyist who didn't cut it as a meteorologist.

  • Albert Holmes Apr 5, 3:45 p.m.
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    Who the heck is Brody Clifton ?

  • Brody Clifton Apr 5, 3:39 p.m.
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    The window for the strongest tornadoes for eastern 1/2 of North Carolina opens around midnight and lasts until 10am for Wayne (north/south) and west, and until early afternoon for the rest of eastern NC. Western NC window for supercells/tornadoes opens after 9pm.

  • Brody Clifton Apr 5, 2:26 p.m.
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    Current Rapid Update Cycle model shows the bad numbers for supercell composite have moved up the I-95 corridor counties by 1am, and by 4 to 8am the numbers really spike in eastern NC. This is a major tornado outbreak guys.