Softball-sized hail, strong winds damage homes, businesses
Posted September 1, 2017 6:47 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:05 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Softball-sized hail and strong winds kicked off Labor Day weekend in Central North Carolina Friday evening.
While strong winds and heavy rain affected much of the Triangle, the southern part of the area, such as Sanford, Angier, Willow Springs and Fuquay-Varina, saw dangerous hail the size of golf balls.
Cars and windows were damaged from the severe weather, and thousands were without power by 6 p.m. Many roofs in Harnett and Lee counties were damaged, and a house in Holly Springs was struck by lightning and caught on fire.
"The damage from this storm looks like it is mainly tied to this golf ball and even softball-sized hail," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.
People in Clayton reported extremely strong winds and torrential rain, which resulted in damaged homes and cars.
Sanford was hit badly by the storms.
"It got really dark outside and started raining really hard," Bailey Riddle of Sanford said. "There was a loud bang, and the power went out."
"An actual tree fell on the house that made a hole in the attic, and it is raining, so it is now going to be pouring down the living room," Rosa Portillo said. "Everywhere you look, there are trees down."
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.
A large tree near Fuquay-Varina fell, crashing into power lines and blocking some roads.
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 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 evening commute.
While significant damage has been reported in communities across the Triangle, no injuries have been reported.