Tornado touched down near RDU airport and Glenwood Avenue

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— Strong, rotating winds triggered tornado warnings for much of central North Carolina on Thursday, including Wake County. The storm hit areas close to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and then headed northeast at around 4:30 p.m.

A tornado touched down near the airport, passing near Interstate 40 and Interstate 540 and along the western side of RDU, meteorologist Kat Campbell said. The tornado caused damage to Pfizer’s office building along Slater Road in the Research-Triangle Park.

The tornado warning was canceled for Durham and Wake counties at 4:20 p.m. Franklin and Granville counties were under a warning until 4:30 p.m.

If a tornado warning is issued in your area, here is advice from the National Weather Service for what to do:

  • Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.
  • Avoid windows.
  • If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.
  • Stay up-to-date with weather alerts from WRAL

“The safest place you can go is a bathroom or a closet on the lowest levels of your home,” Campbell said.

The rotating storm moved over Creedmoor Road and along the Wake-Durham county line around 3:45 p.m.

Areas in central and western North Carolina are under Level 2 risk for severe storms for Thursday, with damaging winds being the biggest threat.

Winds could gust up to 60 mph across central North Carolina for the rest of the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Residents should expect to see some damage to roofs, siding and trees from the wind.

Trees and power lines were reported down along Slater Road near the RDU Airport.

A tornado watch has been issued for most of central North Carolina including Wake, Durham and Johnston counties. The watch is in effect until 8 p.m. on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Tornado watch issued for central North Carolina until 8 p.m.

Wake, Durham, Orange and Harnett counties were under a severe thunderstorm warning until 4:30 p.m.

“Straight line winds can blow down trees, power lines, and damage mobile homes and other buildings,” according to a warning from the NWS. “Seek shelter in a sturdy structure until the storm has passed. Stay away from windows as flying debris generated by damaging winds can be deadly.”

Three tornado warnings went into effect on Thursday afternoon across central North Carolina in counties south of Wake County near Fayetteville and Sanford.

Wind Gusts, DMA

The storms will impact central North Carolina between noon and 5 p.m., but most of the activity should be over by the evening commute. Storms could continue later along the Interstate 95 corridor, and everyone could see isolated showers lingering throughout the evening.

Up to 1 inch of rain is possible. Thursday will be a very warm day, with a high in the mid to upper 70s.

Conditions will be drier overnight and by Friday morning, with lows staying in the 50s. Friday will be a mostly sunny and breezy day, with a high around 69 degrees and winds gusting up to 25 mph.

7-Day Forecast

Saturday will be partly cloudy and mainly dry, but a stray shower is possible Saturday evening and night as a weak cold front moves across the state. It will be cooler, in the mid 60s, and less breezy as well.​​​​​​

Dreamville at Dix Park this weekend should be fine, Gardner explained. If rain falls Saturday night, it shouldn’t be enough to ruin the experience for festival-goers.