Mebane, NC — Severe storms, including a tornado in Orange County, caused damage Friday evening across central North Carolina.
Three buildings in Orange County sustained damage from heavy winds that could have been the result of a tornado, according to Orange County leaders.
While it is not a confirmed tornado by the NWS, Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders said several callers to 911 reported seeing a funnel cloud. WRAL’s Mike Maze also said what he picked up on radar was consistent with a tornado.
Orange County 911 leaders said they received calls about a potential tornado at 5:18 pm from the Gildan Distribution Center on 7110 E. Washington Street in Mebane.
30 people were trapped inside the Gildan distribution center when the wall was knocked down by high winds.
Everyone is okay, but certainly a scary moment for those 30 employees who were inside the building. The damage is mostly to the side of the building and luckily all 30 employees were working on the other side Friday.
Ricky Regan had just made it home from work when he received a call that the tornado touched down.
“I was told it was a touchdown,” said Regan “From there it went up and when it did it took part of the building with it.”
Employees heard the loud rumbles and strong winds. Luckily, they were working on the opposite side of the building and no one was injured.
Regan says he’s worked in the area for 27 years and has never seen anything as strong as the storms Friday. He’s glad everyone walked out unharmed.
Saunders said the county would work with any residents who might be displaced and in need of emergency housing assistance.
Just minutes away, On North Frazier Road storms left piles of scattered debris and significant damage to properties.
Orange County leaders said they received several more calls, including from residences on Frazier Road and Mace Road, that reported damage including fallen trees and downed power lines.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Friday night a trooper “encountered an electrical shock” while on scene of the storm damage on North Frazier Road.
The SHP chief said at the time power lines and trees were down in the area, but he wasn’t sure how the trooper was shocked.
The trooper was on scene to assist with road closures.
The trooper was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.
Not far away on Mace Road, several downed trees could be seen from above. Lumber and Debris scattered across the roads. Some residents in the area were left with no power, like Pete Evans who heard the tornado.
“We heard it very distinctly, just off in the distance. I knew what was going on,” said Evans. “I didn’t see a funnel cloud within our view so I knew we were OK.”
A house in Raleigh was also damaged Friday afternoon when lightning struck it. The house is just off Six Forks Road.
There’s no major damage visible from the outside, but firefighters say an HVAC unit was damaged.
Lightning also struck the top of an apartment building in Durham at the Reserve at Ellis Crossing on Ellis Road.
There were no injuries, but two apartments were damaged.
Cumberland County Emergency Management said Friday it had reports of a tree on a home on Candlewood and Stacy Weaver Drive.
The Fayetteville Public Works Commission said crews were responding to approximately 13,000 customers currently without power, particularly in northern Fayetteville.
By 10:36 pm, Fayetteville PWC said power has been restored to more than 12,000 who lost services during Friday night’s storm.
Over 800 customers remained without power and Fayetteville PWC said crews are continuing restoration efforts, including replacing multiple utility poles damaged during the storm.
Numerous power outages and downed trees have been reported across central North Carolina as the storms moved through. Most agencies are still working to assess the damage.