State agencies work together through storms

Posted February 24, 2012
Updated February 25, 2012

— The threat of severe weather Friday afternoon saw representatives of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, state Highway Patrol and Emergency Management working together to track storms, monitor roads and respond to storm reports in a more coordinated manner than ever before.

st Your photos: Severe weather Feb. 24, 2012

The $53 million State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh brings all those agencies under one roof to keep drivers informed and safe and traffic moving smoothly. About 520 employees work at the 237,000-square-foot facility off District Drive.

When the weather system that threatened all day arrived in the Triangle just in time for the Friday evening rush hour, the center was at high alert, issuing alerts to the media for television, radio and web broadcast and to drivers via email and Twitter.

The storm system brought heavy rain across the state and winds clocked in at more than 40 mph at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Flights were briefly grounded at RDU while the storm passed. 

As the line of storms moved west to east, the National Weather Service began to lift the storm watches and warnings that dominated the day.

By 6 p.m., no tornadoes had been reported in North Carolina, and that threat appeared to be lessening. "The history of this front is that it has been producing severe thunderstorm warnings," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said. 

Duplin County authorities reported several trees down in the Pink Hill community. A woman was injured when her home on Kitty Noecker Road was damaged, but her injuries were minor. Mike Maze shows storm reports Heavy storms roll through Triangle

Early rain drenches Cumberland County

A first weather system brought heavy rain and high winds to an area from Jacksonville and Wilmington to South Carolina throughout the afternoon. Fayetteville saw heavy rains beginning around noon.

Just the threat of severe weather was enough for leaders of the Cumberland County school system to order schools to close one hour early Friday afternoon. Chatham County schools canceled after-school extracurricular activities with the exception of high school playoff games.

Severe weather threat impacts HS playoff basketball

The Triangle was under a "moderate risk" for tornadoes Friday according to the National Weather Service. Tornadoes usually form during heavy thunderstorms when warm, moist air collides with cold air. The storms can also produce large hail and strong winds.

Thanks to a soupy air mass and high temperatures that climbed into 70s by mid-afternoon, storms had plenty of fuel to work with as the cold front moved in.

Sunny, cool weekend follows front

After the front clears, sunshine and much cooler temperatures highlight the weekend. "There is nothing behind the line," Maze said. "Once it passes, things should settle down." WRAL Weather team WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast

Saturday's high should top out in the low 50s, more than 15 degrees colder than Friday's early morning temperatures in the mid-60s. Winds out of the northwest will also facilitate the cool down. 

Low temperatures Sunday morning could dip back into the upper 20s for some spots, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

"We'll get another shot of winter once the front passes through Friday," she said. "The air mass will feel completely different."

Partly cloudy conditions and temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s will return Monday.  


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  • rar0831a Feb 27, 2012

    Well, got a little rain a one clap of thunder. Guess the other folks were right!
    February 24, 2012 5:13 p.m.
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    Sorry what was that I was right?!?! Oh k thanks :)

  • rar0831a Feb 27, 2012

    WRAL over-dramatizes the weather so much, it is almost absurd!

    ###BREAKING NEWS### - Fishel says some rain, wind possible this afternoon - stay tuned for up to the minute updates from our weather room - 500 counties on alert!
    February 24, 2012 5:27 p.m.
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    My point exactly.

  • 37 Feb 24, 2012

    The story says that alerts were sent via email and Twitter, although it gives no information on how to sign up for those alerts.

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 24, 2012

    Glad we made our 26 mile marathon run which we started at 5pm and finished about 30 mins ago before that severe storm hit,man,was running amongst the trees and the lightening hit one and it toppled into another,it was like i was running the hurdles,and then a big cloud of dust was going around in a circle taking trees out and just throwing them all over the place,but at least it cleared my path.
    Hopefully the power won't go out before i finish this po

  • djhartm Feb 24, 2012


    Good grief.

    I think I heard a clap of thunder; going under the house now...

  • unclegrits Feb 24, 2012

    "Anyone who has been involved in a tornado appreciates warnings so that they are aware that the possibility exists."

    My house was hit by the April 16th torando of 2011. With that said making every severe storm a media event is a joke.

  • unclegrits Feb 24, 2012

    "stay tuned for up to the minute updates from our weather room"

    Red Alert!!! Red Alert!!! There is a thunderstorm coming. How did we ever survive storms in the past without up to the minute updates? What a joke.

  • vraptor Feb 24, 2012

    what happens to wind mills in tornadoes & huricanes? do they blow over.

    why not weather sirens? what about the hw light boards???

  • unclegrits Feb 24, 2012

    Just amazing the constant state of fear everyone lives in now. What was once a line of t-storms back in the day is now an all day media event with people worried. Just glad we are safe after this epic storm LOL

  • Whatthehey Feb 24, 2012

    "and to drivers via email and Twitter."

    Great - our state is sending email and Tweets to drivers, during rush hour, during a storm - while every other state and the feds are trying to prevent distracted driving. If you're driving, you better know whether or not its raining - if you can't tell by looking out the window you shouldn't be driving.