A tornado watch has been issued today for 44 eastern North Carolina counties, including the four where devastating tornadoes touched down Friday evening.
The National Weather Service in Wakefield, Va., issued the tornado watch for Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan and Bertie and other coastal and northeast counties this afternoon. The watch remains in effect until 9 p.m.
The watch area includes Gates, Dare and Bertie counties but does not include Camden or Currituck counties.
The weather service is forecasting showers and heavy rainfall on Wednesday. Thunderstorms are expected to produce strong wind gusts and hail, the weather service said.
Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Coordinator Christy Saunders said the weather service told her there’s a “slight risk” of tornadoes tonight, but area residents should still prepare to ride out tonight’s thunderstorm in a safe, secure place.
“You need to go ahead and make preparations,” Saunders said.
Noting that a tornado watch was also issued Friday, Saunders said a watch turns into a tornado warning only when a tornado has been spotted. By then, the weather service only has minutes to notify people they may be in a tornado’s path, she said. People should already be prepared by then and not waiting on the weather service, she said.
She said Pasquotank County is still operating under a state of emergency from Friday’s tornadoes, and will remain under a state of emergency until further notice.
In Elizabeth City, power was only fully restored today to those still without it, according to Electric Superintendent Karl Clow. He said there remain localized outages where homes were destroyed or severely damaged and it’s not yet safe to turn on power for them. Out-of-town electric crews called in Friday and Saturday were set to start leaving town Tuesday.
Useful storm preparation information is available at www.pasquotankcamdenem.com.