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Heavy storm slams eastern Wake, blocks highways

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ZEBULON — A severe thunderstorm Monday morning brought hail and dense rain across the county and downed trees and power lines around Zebulon, blocking a portion of U.S. Highway 64. 

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning around 9:30 a.m. as dark clouds and wind gusts up to 40 mph swept across the region. That was followed at 10:45 by a tornado warning for parts of Wake, Franklin and Nash counties, centered around Zebulon and also affecting Knightdale, Wendell, Rolesville and Spring Hope. 

Images on social media showed down trees and power lines across the area late Monday morning. There were reports of property damage to homes in Zebulon. Zebulon authorities could not immediately be reached for comment. 

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, fallen trees and power lines have blocked several roads near Zebulon. 

"Motorists are urged to still avoid US-64 East near Exit 432 in Wake Co., where trees downed by severe weather has the right lane still closed," NCDOT tweeted at 12:04 p.m. "There is a 3.5-mile backup on 64 East. Maintenance crews are clearing the debris to get the road open ASAP."

Several other roads were impacted by weather as well, according to NCDOT's website. 

N.C. Highway 97 (Gannon Avenue) was closed between Currin Perry Road and Water Plant Road; near North Gill Street; and near Industrial Drive. The site said the road was impassible. 

That highway was expected to reopen by 5 p.m.