Tornado Watches Issued, Governor Urges North Carolinians To Stay Alert

Tornado Watches Issued, Governor Urges North Carolinians To Stay Alert

6:02pm Apr 15, 2018
Image courtesy NWS current at 3:05 p.m. Sunday.

UPDATE 5:51 p.m.

Severe storms on Sunday blew down trees, caused airport delays and knocked out power to tens of thousands in North and South Carolina.

A tornado watch remains in effect for much of the Piedmont until 11 p.m. Sunday night. The National Weather Service reports that Emergency Management confirmed a tornado in Rockingham and Guilford counties earlier in the evening. 

About 75,000 homes and businesses were without power in the late afternoon. Duke Energy said about 43,000 customers lacked power in North Carolina, and another 9,000 in South Carolina. South Carolina Electric and Gas Company reported 23,000 customers without power in South Carolina.

The airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, said on Twitter Sunday that severe weather caused a ground stop and forced air traffic controllers to leave their tower. The ground stop was later lifted.

Television stations in Charlotte were posting images of large hail on Twitter, and the National Weather Service received reports of golf ball-sized hail in several counties. The Charlotte Fire Department was also "responding to numerous storm-related calls for trees and lines down."

ORIGINAL STORY 3:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches throughout the state Sunday, including areas in the High Country and Piedmont. The forecast calls for severe thunderstorms throughout the afternoon and into the evening, with the possibility of isolated tornados and damaging wind gusts. In addition, localized flooding can occur, as heavy rainfall is also in the forecast. 

Governor Cooper is urging North Carolinians to monitor the weather, and listen to emergency officials. 

“North Carolina is at greater risk of severe weather today,” Governor Cooper said in a statement. “Make sure you stay tuned to local warnings and have a plan in place to help your family stay safe if severe weather hits.”

North Carolina Emergency Management is recommending people to:

  • Know the terms: WATCH means a tornado is possible. WARNING means TAKE ACTION: a tornado has been spotted; take shelter immediately. 
  • Know where the nearest safe room is in your home or work. 
    • Home – go to the basement under the stairs or to an interior room on the lowest floor, away from windows.
    • Schools, hospitals, offices – go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Avoid long corridors with windows and large open areas with free span roofs like gyms.
    • High rise buildings – go to an interior hallway, bathroom or closet and stay away from windows.
    • Modular homes and vehicles – leave immediately and go to a sturdy building.
  • If you are outdoors, and there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area.  Watch out for flying debris. 
  • If driving, you should leave your vehicle immediately to seek safety in an adequate structure.  Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle, and do not stop under an overpass or a bridge. 

More information on severe storms, tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness can be found in the ReadyNC mobile app and online at www.ReadyNC.org

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