Lee's remnants dump rain, spark warnings

A series of storms Tuesday spawned at least one possible tornado and a slew of tornado and flash flood warnings and watches around North Carolina.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A series of storms Tuesday spawned at least one possible tornado and a slew of tornado and flash flood warnings and watches around North Carolina.

The collision of a cold front and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused heavy rain and tornado threats throughout the day. 

"We could be seeing some thunderstorm activity into the wee hours of the morning," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

A possible tornado touched down one mile southeast of Pinehurst at 6:40 a.m., Moore County Emergency Manager Scot Brooks said. All the damage was contained to the Country Club of North Carolina, he said. Long-leaf pine trees were blown down and snapped. Some were tossed into a lake.

There were unconfirmed sightings of funnel clouds on Jordan Lake and in Henderson.

No other tornado touchdowns have been confirmed from storms, which also prompted tornado warnings for Wake, Durham, Chatham, Orange, Lee, Granville, Person, Vance and Franklin counties.

Overnight, trained spotters reported tornadoes in Union, Stanly and Wilkes counties.

Durham resident Dan Scheck looked out his living room window Tuesday and saw a large tree down. He ran outside to see if it damaged anything.

"I breathed a sigh of relief it didn't hit the car," he said. "I love all the trees on this street, and I'm disappointed to see them break and fall apart."

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sophomore Alix Jones and others heard the emergency sirens twice and got text messages and emails.

"It's a little weird. (The alarm sound) is a little creepy," Jones said. "We've had an earthquake, hurricane and now tornadoes. We were talking about it in my class. What's going to be next? Like, volcanoes, blizzards, something like that?"

In Angier, Vickie Pittman said tall pine trees broke apart in the strong winds. 

"I saw the tops of the pines just popping off and headed back towards the house," Pittman said. "That is what scared me the most."

Her home wasn't damaged.

In Robeson County, authorities said multiple trees were down on West Great Marsh Church Road in Shannon. Also, a trailer on Covington Farm Road in Shannon was badly damaged.

In Raleigh, two weather-related wrecks were reported in the same area of Interstate 40 near the Rock Quarry Road exit on Tuesday, police said. In both cases, drivers were cited for traveling too fast for the conditions. Several people sustained minor injuries. 

On Wednesday, the better chance for scattered showers and storms will shift to eastern North Carolina. The weather will start to dry out Thursday, and hot, mostly sunny weather will return in time for the weekend.

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