Weather

With storm threat over, focus turns to cleanup and strong winds

Posted April 10, 2020 7:43 a.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2020 11:07 a.m. EDT

A band of dangerous storms moved across the state Monday morning, spawning tornadoes, bringing down trees and powerlines and creating power outages. At least one person died in North Carolina due to the severe weather.

Things to know:

  • A tornado watch for most of the state has been canceled.
  • A wind advisory is in effect until 4 p.m. Wet grounds and strong winds could bring down trees and cause power outages all day. All weather alerts.
  • At least 19 people have been killed in severe weather in the South. One person died in North Carolina, in Davidson County.
  • Twelve counties in our viewing area saw tornado warnings come and go throughout the morning. Tornadoes touched down in western Orange County close to Hillsborough and in Alamance County south of Graham.
  • Hundreds of thousands have lost power in North Carolina. Report an outage by texting OUT to 57801.

Storms over, cleanup underway

The threat of storms is out of North Carolina and extensive cleanup is underway.

Around 235,000 North Carolinians were without power at 10 a.m., and there were dozens of reports of downed trees and power lines across multiple counties.

The Sanford Fire Department said several homes and cars in Lee County had trees fall on them during the storms. The same happened at a home in Siler City on Reeves Chapel Church Road, where a tree crashed into a bedroom.

In southeast Raleigh, a massive tree landed between the homes of photojournalist Mark Stebnicki and his neighbor. Stebnicki's wife and newborn son were home at the time but were not injured. On Fayetteville Road in Raleigh, a woman became trapped inside her home when a tree fell. She was not injured.

In Alamance County near Burlington and Greensboro, first responders have blocked off several roads because power lines are down and stretching across Greensboro-Chapel Hill Road.

The Word of Faith Worship Center on Cumberland Road in Fayetteville suffered roof damage.

North Carolina has confirmed its first storm-related death, a person in Davidson County. The cause of death was not identified, but the area was severely impacted by storms. Nineteen people have died in the storms across the Southeast.

Severe weather timeline:

10:00 a.m.: North Carolina has confirmed its first storm-related death, a person in Davidson County.

9:30 a.m.: A tree fell on a home on Fayetteville Road in Raleigh, trapping a woman inside. The woman was not injured.

9:20 a.m.: Edgecombe and Wilson counties remain under a severe thunderstorm warning. Severe weather is still hitting the coast, with a tornado warning affecting Carolina Beach, Oak Island and Shallotte.

9:00 a.m.: A massive tree fell beside WRAL photojournalist Mark Stebnicki's home, the branches hitting the windows. His wife and 9-week-old baby were inside but are okay.

8:50 a.m.: A tornado warning has been issued north of Wilmington as the storm moves northeast. Even after the storms move out of North Carolina, strong winds will create the risk for power outages and storm damages.

8:30 a.m.: Most tree damage in Wake County is south of Raleigh.

8:15 a.m.: Duke Energy reported 218,000 were without power in North Carolina. You can report an outage by texting OUT to 57801.

8:00 a.m.: The threat of storms has ended for counties west of Raleigh and for most of the Triangle, though strong winds mean trees can fall throughout the day. Eastern counties will continue seeing some storms throughout the morning.

7:55 a.m.: While a tornado warning was not issued for the area, some rotation was detected east of I-40 in Johnston County. Smithfield and Clayton will likely be missed, but Wilson's Mills and Four Oaks have the potential for some wind damage.

7:45 a.m.: A power pole snapped on Ode Turner Road in Hillsborough. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Wake County, and tornado warnings were issued for Vance and Warren counties.

7:40 a.m.: The tornado warnings in Hoke, Cumberland, Harnett and Moore counties have been canceled.

7:35 a.m.: WRAL News received a report of a tree on a house on Hawkins Avenue in Sanford, where a child was injured and taken to the hospital. Another tree fell on a home on Rives Chapel Church Road in Siler City.

7:30 a.m.: Isolated flooding was reported in Roxboro, where a car became trapped in floodwaters. No severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for the Triangle yet, and no tornadoes appear to be forming here, Elizabeth Gardner said. The threat, however, is not over, and people should stay home and watch the weather.

7:25 a.m.: Hoke, Cumberland, Harnett and Moore counties are included in a new tornado warning until 7:45 a.m. Areas around Southern Pines have already seen the worst of the storms.

7:20 a.m.: A tornado warning in Granville County has expired. About 160,000 in North Carolina are without power, the majority west of the Triangle.

7:15 a.m.: CNN is reporting at least 13 people have died in storms in the South, including someone in Oconee County, South Carolina.

7:10 a.m.: A tornado hit in southeast Alamance County, WXII reports. The tornado was first spotted 10 miles south of Graham, moving in a northeast direction. Velocity speeds of 50-60 miles per hour were reported.

7:05 a.m.: The most severe storms should impact the Triangle soon. Reports of 60 mph winds have been reported west of the Triangle.

7:00 a.m.: Hoke, Lee, Moore, Harnett and Cumberland counties are now under severe thunderstorm warnings. A thunderstorm will likely be issued for Wake and Durham counties soon.

6:55 a.m.: The main tornado threat has moved out of Person County and into Granville County. The tornado threat has lessened in Hillsborough and the warning is about to expire. Heavy rain is starting to move into Raleigh.

6:50 a.m.: The tornado warnings in Durham and Alamance counties have expired.

6:45 a.m.: Tornado warnings are in effect for Person and Granville counties until 7:15 a.m. A tornado is on the ground just east of the Saxapahaw area. People in that area need to take shelter immediately.

6:40 a.m.: Tornado damage and debris is showing up on the radar south of Swepsonville, a town in Alamance County.

6:30 a.m.: Mebane is reporting that a tornado touched down. A tornado warning has been issued for parts of Durham and Chapel Hill and is in effect until 7 a.m.

6:20 a.m.: A tornado warning in effect for northern Orange County, which includes Hillsborough.

6:15 a.m.: A tree fell on Glenwood Avenue at T.W. Alexander Drive, blocking one lane. More than 100,000 customers in North Carolina are now without power, and hundreds of those outages are in Raleigh and Durham.

6:00 a.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for Yanceyville near the edge of Person County. WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said storms will pass over downtown Raleigh shortly.

5:45 a.m.: A tornado warning is in effect for parts of Alamance and Chatham counties until 6:15 a.m. The rotation was moving northwest very quickly at 60 mph. Large hail and strong winds as fast as 60 mph are likely.

5:30 a.m.: More than 1,000 have now lost power in the Triangle as strong winds and storms move closer to Raleigh.

5:00 a.m.: Around 64,000 customers had already lost power west of the Triangle. Winston Salem reported trees down and storm damage after a tornado warning was issued for the area, and UNC Greensboro tweeted out a warning to students.

Level 3 risk for severe weather

Timing and threats

Timing -- A strong line of thunderstorms slowly crossed the region Monday morning. Storms were in central North Carolina by 5 a.m., arriving in Durham and other western counties by 6 or 7 a.m. By 7 or 8 a.m., the storms were in Raleigh and Fayetteville, and they were impacting the coast at 9 a.m. Conditions should improve everywhere by 10 or 11 a.m.

Storms will be worst in Triangle between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Power outages could be widespread through Monday afternoon.

"This system will move out in the early afternoon, but windy conditions continue through the evening," Maze said. The National Weather Service has posted a high wind advisory for much of the state, including Cumberland, Durham and Wake counties from 4 a.m. through 4 p.m. Monday.

Prepare for a power outage

Gov. Roy Cooper sent out a press release Sunday afternoon urging North Carolinians to prepare for power outages and severe weather overnight.

People were encouraged to turn on weather radios or charge their devices before bedtime to make sure they can receive weather alerts in the middle of the night. Make sure your household knows where to gather to shelter in place if a tornado warning is issued. Keep batteries and flashlights handy and know how to report an outage to your power company. Sign up for WeatherCall.

The stay-at-home order will make grocery shopping more difficult once the severe weather is over. Prepare for power outages by having a cooler and ice ready to store refrigerated or perishable foods.

Thunderstorm safety tips

Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours.

If you lose power, notify the utility company right away, officials said. Don't rely on your neighbors to do it for you.

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