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Raleigh, N.C. — The worst of the winds from Zeta have passed, but the risk for severe weather isn’t over.
A second, separate system moves through NC tonight, bringing the risk for severe storms. Damaging thunderstorm winds and an isolated tornado will be possible after 9 p.m.
Zeta’s remnants downed trees, power lines Thursday morning and afternoon
At around noon, wind gusts over 50 mph were reported in both Raleigh and Durham. In the storm tracker, WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth reported 58 mph wind gusts while driving down Interstate 40 in Durham County.
Winds will gust between 20 to 30 mph, and could reach 60 mph. WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said the Triangle should see the strongest wind gusts between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday.
More than 60,000 Duke Energy customers were without power at around noon across central North Carolina on Thursday from the storm:
- In Wake County, more than 12,000 customers without power
- In Chatham County, nearly 10,000 customers without power
- In Durham County, more than 9,000 customers without power
Triangle businesses closed due to power outages
Multiple businesses at the shopping center at High House Rd. and Hwy. 55 were closed due to power outages.
The Lidl’s and the Han-Dee Hugo’s both had signs on their windows and doors to tell customers they were closed due to their systems being down.
Center of circulation
Zeta’s center of circulation was over northwestern North Carolina at 11 a.m. The strongest wind gust reported in the state was in Durham, at 56 mph.
53 mph wind gusts were reported in Charlotte. Pope Airfield, near Fort Bragg, reported a 52 mph wind gust at around noon on Thursday.
“We don’t normally see storms like this move so fast,” Gardner said.
Trees were reported down in Chapel Hill, Durham, Hillsborough and Cary. Traffic lights were out at Cary at Green Level Church Road and Interstate 540 from storm damage. Is there a downed tree or storm damage in your area? Send us a photo.
Duke Energy officials said that they can’t restore power with winds this high and are asking for customers to hang tight.
Duke Energy says nearly 60,000 customers in the state lacked power by mid-Thursday.
If a tree has fallen on a power line in your area, you may want to call your local authorities.
The town of Hillsborough is advising residents to stay indoors until the strong winds have passed. A large tree fell on Mitchell Street between East Queen and Cain Streets, officials said. The road will be closed until crews can remove the tree on Friday.
Viewers across the Triangle have sent photos of fallen trees and power lines.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning until Thursday evening for much of the viewing area, including: Wake, Durham, Chatham, Orange, Person, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Montgomery, Alamance, Moore, Nash, Randolph, Stanly, Vance, Warren and Wilson counties.
Zeta is also producing scattered rain, especially north of Interstate 95, and severe storms are possible in the Triangle between 9 p.m. and midnight. The viewing area is under a level 1 risk for severe weather, with wind damage the biggest threat.
According to Gardner, because Zeta is moving very quickly, it should not drop much rain in the state. Less than half an inch is expected in the Triangle, with as much as 1 inch of rain possible closer to the Virginia line.
Zeta made landfall in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday evening before weakening to a tropical storm. A 91 mph wind gust blew through Mobile, Alabama, and a NOAA gauge reported a 10-foot storm surge in Mississippi.
Cooler, drier weather ahead for the weekend
Showers will move out of the area very early on Friday and clouds will begin to break up by midday. Friday will also be cooler, with highs in the low to mid 60s.
Even colder air arrives for Saturday, when lows will be in the low 40s and highs will be in the upper 50s for Halloween. Sunday will be very similar, with a minor increase in cloud cover as a stronger cold front moves through.
Most people will see temperatures in the 30s early Monday and Tuesday morning, and we could see the first frost of the season.