UPDATE: Haywood County has been removed from the tornado watch area. A wind advisory remains in effect until 1 a.m. Sunday.
Amid heavy rain and thunderstorms, the National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for several counties in western North Carolina, including Haywood County, until midnight Saturday. Other counties under the watch include Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cleveland, Graham, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey.
A severe thunderstorm warning for an area including Haywood County has also been issued until 7:45 p.m.
The National Weather Service advises residents in the affected areas to watch out for dark rotating clouds and listen for a tornado siren, and take shelter immediately in the event of either. Residents are also advised to pay attention to the television and radio for weather updates, avoid unnecessary car trips and bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away.
The weather service issues a tornado watch in an area where conditions are favorable to tornadoes forming. This differs from a tornado warning, which is issued when a tornado has been sighted or located by weather radar.
Check back to The Mountaineer's website and Facebook page for updates. The watch is schedules to end at midnight Saturday.
*Editor's note: This story has been changed after the first paragraph mistakenly referred to conditions as a tornado warning rather than a watch.