RALEIGH — A weather system in North Carolina on Wednesday spawned storms and conditions conducive to tornadoes. A tornado watch for eastern parts of the state expired at 2 a.m. Thursday and a wind advisory was in effect through 4 a.m. as a weather system rolled through the state.
The National Weather Service said a high-pressure area off the coast and a cold front moving in from the west created a wind tunnel of sorts to suck warm air from the southwest on Wednesday. The tornado watch, which went into effect around 8:30 p.m., indicates the right mix of conditions exists to produce the severe weather.
As rain and high winds moved through the area, Duke Energy and Progress Energy prepared crews to deal with possible power outages.
Some of the larger power outages in the region were in Wake County:
-- At least 1,600 customers were without power near Raleigh's North Hills and Millbrook Road at around 10:30 p.m.
-- And at least 1,400 customers were in the dark near the intersection of I-440 and Western Boulevard.
-- Another 1,100 customers were without power near the PNC Arena and south of Wade Avenue.
-- Southeast of Garner, an outage affected more than 1,300 customers near the I-40 corridor from U.S. Business 70 to the I-40/U.S. 70 split around midnight.
Other areas of Wake and Johnston counties were reporting isolated areas of power outages affecting tens or hundreds of customers. (Monitor all the Progress Energy outages here.)
Earlier in the day, Hope Valley Road was temporarily closed between Devon Road and Surrey Green Lane on Wednesday afternoon after a tree fell and downed power lines.
The cold front approaching from the west is predicted to overtake the area late Thursday and hold Fridays high to just below 40 degrees. Flurries might be possible overnight Thursday and Friday morning.