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All of central North Carolina is under a level 2 risk for severe weather Sunday evening, and heavy rain, gusty winds and isolated tornadoes will become more possible overnight.
Light showers began just after 6 p.m. in the Triangle, whipped by winds from the southeast after a warm afternoon.
After midnight, the threat for severe weather increases, and the region will be under a level 3, or elevated, risk. The worst of the weather will occur while most people are sleeping, making it particurally dangerous.
The chance for showers overnight is about 70%. Those showers turn to storms as Sunday turns to Monday, with the potential for heavy rain, gusty winds and isolated tornadoes.
WRAL meteorologist Zach Maloch said the strongest storms will arrive Sunday night and linger until midday Monday. The best chance for severe weather will start around 3 a.m. with the bulk of the storms hitting the Triangle by 7 a.m.
Showers will return ahead of any severe storms, and could be seen over the western part of the Triangle as early as 4 a.m.
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
Thunderstorms will pick up power across the Triangle by 7 a.m. and clearing central North Carolina by mid-morning. By noon, the rain will have moved out to the east, and a slight threat for severe thunderstorm remains over the northeast quadrant of the state.
Heavy rain and downpours overnight could lead to isolated flooding.
According to WRAL meteorologist Peta Sheerwood, there is a 10% chance a tornado will occur within a 25 mile radius of any given point in the viewing area (the areas shaded in yellow below) early Monday. As a reminder, a tornado watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in the area and it is time to seek shelter.
“This is the time to download that WRAL Weather app and track those storms with us as they move through,” Sheerwood said.
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 recieve 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 batteies and flashlights handy and know how to report an outage to your power company.
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 refrgieraed or perishable foods.
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.