The Latest: National Weather Service declares threat over

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on severe weather approaching North Carolina and South Carolina after hitting areas hard in the Deep South (all times local):

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8:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service says the risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes has ended in North Carolina.

But meteorologists say wind gusts of up to 30 mph are expected to impact the state through Wednesday night, possibly bringing down trees whose roots were weakened by the earlier storm.

Power outages continue to plague much of the Carolinas.

South Carolina Electric & Gas reported more than 2,800 outages late Wednesday, with most in Richland and Lexington counties.

Duke Energy reports approximately 77,000 customers without power in North Carolina and another 19,000 in South Carolina as of 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Dominion reported slightly less than 900 customers without power late Wednesday night. The utility’s coverage area includes east-central and northeastern North Carolina.

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5:15 p.m.

Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins says one home has been destroyed by severe weather in his county.

Wilkins says three other houses were damaged in the Oxford area. He hadn’t received any reports of injuries but said emergency personnel are still assessing the storm’s effects.

The sheriff said it’s not clear if the damage came from straight line winds or a tornado. He described rain blowing sideways, wind bending trees and hail coming down while the storm swept through.

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3:45 p.m.

Electric companies say that power outages have climbed above 115,000 in the Carolinas while storms rumble through.

Duke Energy says more than 72,000 customers are without power in North Carolina, while there are nearly 28,000 in South Carolina. South Carolina Electric & Gas reports that another 15,000 of its customers are without power in the state.

A new series of tornado warnings has been issued as a band of severe weather approaches the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.

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12:30 p.m.

Electric companies are reporting more than 40,000 outages in the Carolinas as severe weather moves in.

Duke Energy said Wednesday afternoon that nearly 21,000 North Carolina customers were without power, while there were 17,000 in South Carolina. South Carolina Electric & Gas was reporting another 4,200, mostly in the Charleston area.

Several tornado warnings were issued in North Carolina, though most had expired by early afternoon.

Tornado watches were issued through the evening for much of both states.

A number of school districts in North Carolina let out early because of the severe weather.

East Carolina University cancelled afternoon classes. Fayetteville State University issued an emergency weather alert advising students to take shelter, but later declared an “all-clear.”

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10:00 a.m.

Duke Energy is reporting thousands of outages across the Carolinas as the two states brace for the arrival of severe weather.

The power company says there are more than 12,000 outages in North Carolina and more than 2,000 in South Carolina Wednesday morning.

North Carolina’s Macon and Mecklenburg counties each have more than 3,000 customers without power.

To the east, school systems including Cumberland and Durham counties are letting out early because of the weather threat.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is urging residents to stay alert. He says he’s asked emergency personnel to be ready in case of severe weather.

South Carolina Electric & Gas reports fewer than 300 outages.

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8 a.m.

High winds, high surf and flooding are all possible in North Carolina as a storm system approaches.

That doesn’t count the snow that’s expected in the mountains starting Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service has issued advisories and warnings about high winds across most of the state Wednesday as the storm that has killed at least three people in Louisiana and Mississippi moves into the region.

Winds are expected to range from 20 mph to 35 mph with gusts of up to 70 mph in the western mountains.

The winds will kick up the surf on beaches south of Cape Hatteras.

Flooding is also a possibility from the rains.

Up to 4 inches of snow is expected in some parts of the mountains from late Wednesday and to early Friday.

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7:15 a.m.

A storm system that’s killed at least three people in Louisiana and Mississippi is expected to bring severe weather to South Carolina.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Allendale County until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

A wind advisory is in effect from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in seven counties in the southeastern part of the state. .

The advisory is in effect in Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Jasper counties.

A similar advisory is in effect in eight counties in the northeastern part of the state until 8 p.m. That advisory affects Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties.

Forecasters say winds could reach 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

Schools are closed in Georgetown and Horry counties.

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