EF-1 tornado confirmed near the RTP, where roof ripped off Pfizer office building

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— The National Weather Service on Friday confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in southeastern Durham County near the RTP during Thursday’s severe storms.

Winds ripped the roof off of Pfizer’s office building in the Research Triangle Park. Although 100 mph winds were detected, Durham Division Chief Jim Cole said no one inside the building was hurt.

“There’s no structural damage at all,” said Cole. “It could have caused a lot more damage. We really got lucky with it.”

Strong winds and heavy rain also caused damage and crashes across the Triangle on Thursday afternoon.

Dozens of crashes were reported as people rushed to get home while the storm pelted across the Triangle.

  • US-264 near Lizard Lick Road was closed after a truck overturned.
  • Power lines fell across US-401 near Ramsey Street. The road is closed between E. Reevees Bridge and Giles roads
  • Part of Interstate 40 west near Exit 306 was closed due to a crash

The wind and rain forced drivers like Benjamin Eller to pull over on the side of Interstate 540 and hunker down inside their cars.

“I was blocking my head like this, cause the wind was hitting the window right here,” said Eller. “There was stuff blowing everywhere, I couldn’t even see the debris.”

Eller saw another driver’s window shatter and the storm tear a road sign clean off its base.

“I called my mom on the phone cause she was on speed dial, and I was like ‘I’m in a tornado.’ I didn’t want to be by myself if I go flying through the air,” said Eller.

At least 55 flights were delayed out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport and 10 flights were canceled, according to the website FlightAware.

Tree falls on man's home in Tar Heel, NC

About 700 customers lost power in Raleigh during the storms.

WCNC Charlotte posted photos shared by Anson County Emergency Management, which show severe weather storm damage from a possible tornado in the Burnsville community near Polkton.

Wind damage March 31, 2022

Emergency officials said chicken houses were destroyed, and damage occurred to homes and trees.

Wind damage March 31, 2022