Tornado touches down in Guilford, warning issued for Rockingham; watches issued for Forsyth and other NC counties

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After a tornado touched down in Guilford County this afternoon and the National Weather Service in Raleigh issued tornado warning for Rockingham County, and tornado and flash flood watches are in effect for Forsyth and other areas as well.

At 5:16 p.m., a confirmed tornado was located near Greensboro, moving north at 45 mph, the National Weather Service said in a statement.

And At 5:30 p.m., a confirmed tornado was located near Monroeton, moving northeast at 40 mph., the National Weather Service said. A tornado warning was in effect until 6 p.m. for eastern Rockingham and western Caswell counties.

Areas impacted in Rockingham included Eden, Reidsville, Wentworth, Bethel and Providence.

Residents in these areas are advised to move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows and if you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

At 4:17 p.m., a severe thunderstorm also was located near Clemmons, moving north at 80 mph. Winds gusts of 70 mph and quarter-size hail is expected.

A tornado watch is in effect until 11 p.m. tonight and affects several N.C. counties, including Forsyth, Guilford, Davidson, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Alamance, Chatham and Caswell .

Heavy rain also is expected through this evening and a flash flood watch is in effect until midnight for Forsyth, Davidson, Guilford, Randolph, and Stanly counties.

Rain falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour, with a total rainfall of 2 to 3 inches, is possible and may lead to flash flooding, particularly in urban and poor drainage areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The greatest risk for severe storms is between now and 8 p.m. Sunday.

Severe storms across the Carolinas have blown down trees, caused airport delays and dropped hail.

The airport in Charlotte said on Twitter Sunday that severe weather has caused a ground stop and forced air traffic controllers to leave their tower. The ground stop was later lifted. Meanwhile, television stations in Charlotte were posting images of large hail on Twitter.

The Charlotte Fire Department also reported that it’s “currently responding to numerous storm-related calls for trees and lines down.”

The Columbia, South Carolina, police department said on Twitter that multiple traffic lights were malfunctioning because of the severe weather. In nearby Lexington County, the sheriff’s office reported that downed trees were blocking roads in multiple locations.

Duke Energy said about 26,000 customers were without power in North Carolina, and another 10,000 in South Carolina.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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