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Two damaging tornadoes hit central North Carolina

<i>CNN Weather</i><br/>Severe storms threaten 70 million people across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic today.
CNN Weather
Severe storms threaten 70 million people across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic today.

By Judson Jones and Monica Garrett, CNN

Two tornadoes were reported in central North Carolina on Friday afternoon, making it the ninth consecutive day with twisters somewhere in the United States.

In the town of Mebane — in between Greensboro and Durham — a tornado hit the Gildan Distribution Center, but none of the 30 people inside were reported to be hurt, according to Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders.

When emergency crews arrived, they found significant structural damage and a ruptured gas line, Saunders said.

Some homes about a mile away also suffered damage from the same storm, he added.

“We are starting to track what seems to be a clearly defined path,” he said.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said the two tornado reports showed damage in the area where the distribution center is located and a neighborhood just to the northeast.

“Everyone is accounted for. Right now we are securing utilities and gearing up for round two,” Saunders said.

There are more than 100,000 customers across four southern states without power this evening as storms move across the region, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.US.

Currently, Tennessee is experiencing the most outages with nearly 36,000 customers in the dark. Significant outages are also being reported in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Tornado watches were posted for residents in parts of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for storms forming in the area to produce tornadoes.

Several major southern metropolitan areas are facing the threat of damaging winds, hail and a few tornadoes, with the weather taking aim at 55 million people across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

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The cities of Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina, and Virginia Beach and Norfolk in Virginia, are all under an enhanced risk for severe storms — Level 3 of 5.

This risk level means numerous severe storms are possible across the region.

The Storm Prediction Center said the primary threat is expected to continue through the evening before winding down during the overnight hours.

Heavy rain of up to three inches will create a flood threat in the Mid-Atlantic.

“Rainfall totals up to 3 inches are possible and could create scattered flooding concerns in these areas,” the WPC said.

Flood watches are posted for parts of six states from Kentucky to Maryland, including Washington, DC, and Baltimore along with other cities.

On Saturday, the storm system will slowly move off the East Coast.

“This will lead to a very dreary weather pattern to develop and linger across parts of the Northeast and down into the Mid-Atlantic through the weekend,” the Weather Prediction Center said. “Much of the Eastern Seaboard will be under the influence of overcast skies, gusty northeasterly winds, and occasional rain with high temperatures only reaching into the 50s.”

This is a stark contrast to the 100-degree temperatures forecast across Texas and the Southern Plains this weekend.

Read more: Mother Nature cooks up a historic heat wave for Mother’s Day weekend.

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CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Hannah Sarisohn contributed to this report.

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