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A large swath of central North Carolina is under a tornado watch as a line of storms approach the region, which is under a Level 3 risk for severe weather.
At a glance:
- A line of fast-moving storms are moving through the region.
- The entire region is under a tornado watch until 11 p.m. For full list: Click here
- There are reports of trees down in Orange County and about 1,000 customers are without power.
9:09 p.m.: Heavy rain is falling at the WRAL-TV studios at 2619 Western Blvd. You can hear the thunder and rain falling inside the building.
9:06 p.m. A tornado warning has been issued for Wake County and part of Franklin County that goes until 9:45 p.m.
9:01 p.m. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Cumberland, Hoke, Harnett, Moore, Sampson, Franklin, Granville, Johnston and Wake counties until 9:45 p.m.
8:56 p.m.: Person County officials report one small tree has fallen but has been cleared. No other damage has been reported.
8:54 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for parts of Virginia in southeastern Mecklenburg County, Va., Greensville County, Va., and Brunswick County, Va., until 9:30 p.m.
8:52 p.m.: Chatham County 911 says there are some reports of little trees/branches in the roadways, but there have been no significant damage in the county. Officials report the same situation in Chapel Hill.
8:51 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties until 9:15 p.m.
8:49 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warnings have been canceled for Person and Durham counties.
8:43 p.m.: Meteorologist Mike Maze said there are fewer lightning strikes being reported on radar as the storm system moves into Wake County.
8:41 p.m.: Orange County 911 dispatchers say there are lots of reports of trees down north of I-85.
8:32 p.m.: The tornado warning for Granville County has expired. There are currently no tornado warnings in the WRAL viewing area.
8:30 p.m.: Orange County has been dropped from the severe thunderstorm warning that was issued earlier Thursday.
8:26 p.m.: Tornado warnings in Durham, Orange and Person counties have been dropped, but Granville County remains under a tornado warning.
8:23 p.m.: Some 1,045 customers are without power in Orange County, according to Duke Energy.
8:21 p.m.: The Storm Tracker is on U.S. Highway 1 and there is heavy rain falling in the area for motorists headed towards Apex.
Orange County was included in the tornado warning that was in effect until 8:30 p.m. That area has since been dropped from the warning.
There were two earlier tornado warnings for parts of Person County and Caswell County. Both of those warnings have since expired.
Another tornado warning was issued just before 7:30 p.m. for Halifax County, Va., and Charlotte County, Va. Those areas are on the edge of the WRAL viewing area. A tornado warning was issued for Mecklenburg County, Va., until 8:30 p.m.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were also in effect for Alamance, Chatham and Randolph counties until 8 p.m. A new severe thunderstorm warning was issued until 9 p.m. for Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Moore counties along with Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake counties.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said the storms would move into the western areas of our viewing area around 7 p.m. with storms over the Triangle around 9 p.m.
Storms are expected to start clearing from the area by 11 p.m.
Fayetteville Public Works reported a power outage to some areas just before 5 p.m. Thursday that, according to officials, was due to Duke Energy lines that feed power into the PWC system. Crews were working to restore power by rerouting it from other Duke sources.
Officials said around 40,000 lost power. It was restored an hour later.
There was some reported storm damage in the Greensboro area from these lines of storms. NBC affiliate WXII reported a tree fell on a house.
Trick-or-treating early in the evening is a good plan, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said, but it’s important to keep an eye on the weather regardless.
“Even if smaller storms pop-up, it really won’t be safe for kids to be out trick-or-treating,” Gardner said. “It’s one of those nights you’re going to really have to pay attention.”
Gardner said anyone heading out for Halloween festivities should check the weather before they leave home and download the WRAL Weather app to get severe weather alerts. Get mobile alerts with the WRAL Weather app
During the patch of severe weather, winds could gust up to 70 mph, knocking down trees. Isolated tornadoes are possible.
“You want to make sure your trick-or-treaters are finished with all their routes by 8 o’clock,” Gardner said.
The Town of Chapel Hill announced Thursday afternoon that its annual Franklin Street closure for Halloween festivities might not occur if the weather becomes too severe.
“Depending on crowd size and the potential for hazardous weather conditions, the downtown street closure may not take place,” officials said in a press release while urging people to stay indoors if weather becomes inclement.
Past years have seen crowds as large as 80,000 people on Franklin Street on Halloween.
The storms will continue moving east and should be out of central North Carolina by midnight.
A cold front is pushing the storms through the area. Thursday’s high is 80 degrees, but temperatures Friday will reach only 60 degrees.
Overnight lows on Friday will dip into the high 30s.