Warnings lifted, storm powers through southern counties

Posted September 29, 2012 7:57 a.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2012 8:08 p.m. EDT

— A slow-moving frontal boundary that brought rain and thunderstorms across central and eastern North Carolina Saturday sparked tornado warnings in counties south of the Triangle as day turned to evening.

By 7:05 p.m., the radar indicated the rainfall and hail had subsided somewhat, and by 7:15 p.m. the warnings had all been canceled.

The storm continued moving south and east at about 20 mph. It had passed south and east of Southern Pines and Aberdeen by 7 p.m. with Raeford in its track. "Hopefully this is just rotation on the radar," said WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth. 

Emergency responders in the effected counties – Scotland, Richmond, Hoke and Moore – said they had no official reports of damage. At Pinehurst Resort, employees said the skies went dark and all golfers were called in off the course as the storm approached.

The National Weather Service had no confirmed reports of a tornado touching down, but Montgomery County dispatchers said residents called with reports of a funnel crowd and penny-sized hail about 5:55 p.m. in the Dry Creek community.

Heavy thunderstorms rocked Lee and Wake counties in the 6 o'clock hour as well, dumping rain at a rate of up to 10 inches per hour in Sanford, Holly Springs, Cary and Raleigh.

Thunderstorms moved across the northern parts of the Triangle early in the day, with areas in Durham, Franklin, Person, Granville and Vance counties seeing heavy downpours and lightning. 

Clouds associated with the front kept temperatures in the Triangle cool throughout the day, as highs only topped out in the upper 60s and low 70s during the afternoon.