Thunderstorm threat continues through evening

Posted September 30, 2008 4:09 p.m. EDT
Updated October 1, 2008 9:26 p.m. EDT

— An upper level disturbance raised warnings of tornadoes and severe weather for the eastern part of the state Wednesday afternoon.

Throughout the afternoon, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for Lenoir, Wayne, Sampson, Johnston, Cumberland, Harnett and Beaufort counties. All had been canceled or expired by 5 p.m.

WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said there were no reports of a tornado touching down.

The storm was at its strongest around 3:30 p.m. in eastern North Carolina, Maze said.

The eastern half of the state remains under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m.

"The upper level disturbance is creating a lot of lift in the atmosphere and creating a breeding ground, so to speak, for these storms," Maze said.

Heavy rain fell through the late afternoon along Interstate 95, and hailstones of up to 1.5 inches were possible, Maze said. A WRAL viewer reported golf-ball sized hail in Sampson County.

Cooling trend

The disturbance generated cloud cover across the Triangle Wednesday afternoon along with the possibility of a shower or storm. Overnight, temperatures could dip into the 40s, Maze said.

The rest of the workweek looks to be sunny and cooler. On Thursday, it will be noticeably cooler and a good deal less humid, Maze said. The Triangle may not get out of the 60s. Overnight lows are forecast to stay in the upper 40s through the weekend.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday should see gradual warming trend, with clear skies and low humidity.