Tornado threat drops in Triangle, but flooding possible through Thursday morning

From staff reportsApril 30, 2014 

After hours of rain in the Triangle on Wednesday brought a threat of flooding to low-lying areas and prompted police to briefly close eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 in southeastern Raleigh.

It appeared by mid-afternoon that heavy rains and winds would be the more likely threat than tornadoes, said Chris Hohmann, chief meteorologist for WTVD. The tornado watch has been lifted for the Triangle.

“We’re not seeing right now any signs of any tornadic thunderstorms, and we may very well get through the evening without that,” Hohmann said. “It’s not impossible, but the threats not quite as high as it was.”

The first bands of heavy rain swept through the Triangle before dawn Wednesday, and forecasters expected surges of precipitation throughout the day. A system of showers over the Triad could become the Triangle’s next significant rains within hours, Hohmann said.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the Triangle through 6 a.m. Thursday. Wake County has canceled all after-school and evening activities because of the threat of bad weather.

For the Triangle – and the nation generally – the end of nearly a week of bad weather could be near.

“The threat should diminish later tonight, and tomorrow after some morning showers and storms it should be much better,” Hohmann said. “The threat of severe weather should finally be over then.”

The day got started with numerous tornado warnings issued before dawn, as radar tracked an intense storm cell moving north and east through the area, but no twisters were reported.

Broadcasters urged people to get to safe areas, beginning about 4 a.m.

Safety officials at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sounded emergency sirens about 5 a.m. to warn the campuses as tornado warning were posted for their areas.

Volunteer weather spotters who work with the National Weather Service reported that a thunderstorm Tuesday night had dumped 2.1 inches of rain on Kenly in Johnston County, and a 6 a.m. report said 3.9 inches had come down on Wilson.

The National Storm Prediction Center posted several reports from weather spotters and public safety officials of funnel clouds seen or touching down or trees and buildings being damaged Tuesday afternoon and early evening in Cumberland, Sampson, Greene and Jones counties.

 

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