Possible tornado damages distribution center in Orange County

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Severe storms, including a possible tornado in Orange County, caused damage across central North Carolina Friday evening.

Three buildings in Orange County sustained damage from heavy winds that could have been the result of a tornado, according to Orange County officials.

While it is not a confirmed tornado, Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders said several callers to 911 reported seeing a funnel cloud. WRAL’s Mike Maze also said what he picked up on radar was consistent with a tornado.

Officials with Orange County 911 said they received calls about a potential tornado at 5:18 p.m. from the Gildan Distribution Center on E. Washington Street in Mebane.

Saunders said 30 employees were inside the distribution center when the storm struck and ripped off large chunks of an exterior wall, but no one suffered any injuries. Crews were still assessing the impacted residences but had no estimates of the amount of damage.

Saunders said the county would work with any residents who might be displaced and need emergency housing assistance.

Officials with Orange County said they received several more calls, including from residences on Frazier Road and Mace Road, that reported damage including fallen trees and downed power lines.

A house in Raleigh was also damaged Friday afternoon when lightning stuck it.

Numerous power outages and downed trees have been reported across central North Carolina as the storms moved through. Most official agencies are still working to assess the damage.