Severe storms produced tornado warnings across central North Carolina

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Overnight weather forecast
Overnight weather forecast

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A string of severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings began at 3:45 p.m. The latest weather alerts can be seen here or below:

The warnings came in quickly and kept popping up until around 5 p.m. Multiple storm systems pushed east across the northeast part of the ABC11 viewing area.

There are no remaining active weather warnings in the ABC11 viewing area. A tornado watch remained in effect for the eastern part of the viewing area but was canceled shortly after 7 p.m.

During one of the tornado warnings, ping-pong ball-sized hail could be seen falling from the sky in Enfield.

Hail falls in Enfield this afternoon in this video from the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

Duke Energy reported an outage for about 1,000 people just south of Wendell. The power company said fallen trees caused the outage.

Fallen trees in Nash County were also blamed for an outage that knocked out power to several hundred people.

If you lose power: Here's how to report and check power outages in your area.

George Daniel, who lives in Scotland Neck was at Hardee's when everyone's phones began going off.

The Scotland Neck area saw downed trees and flooding in the streets.

Daniel was out looking at the damage. There was significant flooding in the streets in Scotland Neck.

"I used to be in the clean-up business, storms and everything. I'm retired now. I still like to come out and see it," Daniel said.

Stormy Memorial Day

A series of powerful storms swept over the central and southern U.S. over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, killing at least 21 people and leaving a wide trail of destroyed homes, businesses and power outages.

The destructive storms caused deaths in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky and were just north of an oppressive, early-season heat wave setting records from southern Texas to Florida.

Severe weather across the United States caused delays and travel plan changes.

Forecasters said the severe weather could shift to the East Coast later Monday and warned millions of people outdoors for the holiday to watch the skies.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who earlier declared a state of emergency, said at a Monday press conference that four people had died in four different counties.

The death toll of 21 also included seven deaths in Cooke County, Texas, from a Saturday tornado that tore through a mobile home park, officials said, and eight deaths across Arkansas.

Two people died in Mayes County, Oklahoma, which is east of Tulsa, authorities said. The injured included guests at an outdoor wedding.

The latest community left with shattered homes and no power was the tiny Kentucky community of Charleston, which took a direct hit Sunday night from a tornado that the governor said appeared to be on the ground for 40 miles (64 kilometers).

"It's a big mess," said Rob Linton, who lives in Charleston and is the fire chief of nearby Dawson Springs, hit by a tornado in 2021. "Trees down everywhere. Houses moved. Power lines are down. No utilities whatsoever - no water, no power."

Further east, some rural areas of Hopkins County hit by the 2021 tornado around the community of Barnsley were damaged again Sunday night, said county Emergency Management Director Nick Bailey.

"There were a lot of people that were just getting their lives put back together and then this," Bailey said. "Almost the same spot, the same houses and everything."

Beshear has traveled to the area where his father grew up several times for ceremonies where people who lost everything were given the keys to their new homes.

The visits came after a series of tornadoes on a terrifying night in December 2021 killed 81 people in Kentucky.

"It could have been much worse," Beshear said of the Memorial Day weekend storms. "The people of Kentucky are very weather aware with everything we've been through."

More than 500,000 customers across the eastern U.S. were without power Monday afternoon, including about 170,000 in Kentucky. Twelve states reported at least 10,000 outages, according to

The area on highest alert for severe weather Monday is a broad swath of the eastern U.S., from Alabama to New York.

President Joe Biden sent condolences to the families who had people killed. He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is on the ground conducting damage assessments and he has contacted governors to see what federal support they might need..

It's been a grim month of tornadoes and severe weather in the nation's midsection.

Tornadoes in Iowa last week left at least five people dead and dozens injured. Storms killed eight people in Houston earlier this month. The severe thunderstorms and deadly twisters have spawned during a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change contributes to the severity of storms around the world. April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country.

Harold Brooks, a senior scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, said a persistent pattern of warm, moist air is to blame for the string of tornadoes over the past two months.

That warm moist air is at the northern edge of a heat dome bringing temperatures typically seen at the height of summer to late May.

The heat index - a combination of air temperature and humidity to indicate how the heat feels to the human body - is expected to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) in parts of south Texas on Monday. Record highs are forecast for Brownsville, San Antonio and Dallas.

Miami set a record high of 96 F (35.5 C) on Sunday.

Looking Ahead in North Carolina

It looks like the humidity drops and cooler temperatures during the week.

Saturday is sunny and seasonable, while Sunday brings more clouds with a slight risk of showers and storms.

ABC11's Josh Chapin contributed.