Weather

Storm spares Triangle; twister reports in Forsyth, Guilford

Posted May 8, 2008 9:04 a.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2008 1:30 a.m. EDT

— Severe storms that packed stiff winds, hail and possible isolated tornadoes threatened the Triangle on Thursday night, then took a turn for Virginia instead early Friday.

"It appears the bulk of the severe weather will pass north of the Triangle. So the worst of the weather may miss our viewing area," WRAL Mike Maze Meteorologist said early Friday morning.

The same storm system created heavy storms in the Triad and reportedly tornadoes Thursday night, however.

The National Weather Service said that law enforcement agencies in Forsyth County reported some injuries, homes damaged and trees knocked down into homes around Clemmons, southwest of Winston-Salem.

The weather service listed the event as a tornado and estimated from radar tracking that it hit about 10:25 p.m.

Later reports cited Forsyth Emergency Management as saying there had been injuries, but there was no information about how severe they were.

Around 11:30, the weather service said, police reported some vehicles had been blown off Interstate 40 near the Piedmont Triad International Airport by tornado-like winds.

Doppler radar showed the storm system moving northeast into Virginia by early Friday, and WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said the Triangle appeared to have been spared the heavy weather.

In the Triangle on Thursday night, lightning lit up the night sky and thunder rumbled over Orange and Durham counties about 8:30 p.m.

The weather service had issued tornado watches until 1 a.m. for Alamance, Chatham, Moore, Orange, and Person counties, though Moore was dropped about 11 p.m.

Durham, Franklin, Granville, Vance, Wake and Warren counties are under a tornado watch until 4 a.m. Lee County had been in the watch but was removed later in the night. Wake was dropped at 12:46 a.m.

The weather service defines a "watch" as meaning a situation in which "the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing are still uncertain."

It is a keep-an-eye-out alert rather than a prediction that heavy weather is imminent.

An early round of rain passed through Raleigh at midday, cooling temperatures from the low 80s into the 70s.

The sun will peek through Friday afternoon, though the day will be mostly cloudy, windy and warm with a few morning showers and storms. Highs will be in the mid-80s and lows in the upper 50s.

Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy and mild. Sunday will be mostly cloudy, with showers and storms likely.

"Our next good chance of thunderstorms is coming up on Mother's Day. That has a chance to be quite an active weather day," Fishel said.

It also is graduation weekend at all three major universities in the area. NCSU has commencement Saturday. Duke and UNC are scheduled for Sunday.