Despite warnings, storms leave central NC mostly unscathed

Posted September 18, 2012 5:32 a.m. EDT
Updated September 19, 2012 10:22 p.m. EDT

— Despite the issuing of tornado warnings in many parts of central North Carolina Tuesday afternoon, the potentially dangerous severe weather that forecasters expected never materialized, said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

"This will go into the record books, and thankfully so, as a system that never lived up to its potential," Fishel said. "Certainly there was enough instability and wind sheer present that it looked like there would be quite a severe weather outbreak this afternoon."

But heavy rains and the potential for severe weather continued through the evening in many areas, prompting flash flood warnings until 2 a.m. for Durham, Granville and Orange counties.

The National Weather Service issued three tornado warnings Tuesday afternoon – one in Granville County, one for portions of Cumberland, Johnston and Sampson counties and a third for eastern Wake, southern Franklin and Nash counties – but all three were canceled after the storm systems weakened.

The NWS confirmed Wednesday that a tornado touched down near Zebulon, but no damage to homes or businesses was reported.

Only minimal damage was reported in any of the areas that had been under warnings.

High winds knocked a tree onto a power line in Apex, leaving two homes without electricity. Town crews were in the area cutting apart the tree to try to restore power to the area.

The large front, which produced severe weather in parts of Georgia and South Carolina, dumped heavy rain from Canada to Mississippi on Tuesday.

"We had tornado watches associated with this front last night in Georgia and parts of South Carolina," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

Showers and clouds will linger in the area on Wednesday, but severe weather shouldn't be an issue as temperatures will struggle to climb into the low 70s. 

Sunshine returns Thursday and Friday as temperatures return to the upper 70s and low 80s.