RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A tornado watch was issued across most of central North Carolina Friday afternoon just hours after a severe weather threat increased to a level 3 out of 5 across most of the area.

At 9 p.m., the watch was dropped for the Sandhills parts of the CBS 17 viewing area. But, the remaining watch areas had the alert lengthened until midnight.

A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes.

Friday’s tornado watch initially covered 21 counties in central North Carolina until 10 p.m. Friday.

Friday is a CBS17 Storm Team Alert Day since everyone has the chance to see severe thunderstorms, which could produce large hail, damaging winds up to 60 miles per hour, and isolated tornadoes.

RELATED: Interactive Weather Radar from CBS 17 Storm Team

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The following counties are under the tornado watch: Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Halifax, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Orange, Person, Sampson, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson.

A warm front lifted north across the region Friday, shifting winds out of the south and warming temperatures into the mid-80s to low-90s in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain.

RELATED: Click here for the latest weather alerts and warnings

As moisture and warm surge into the region behind the warm front, the atmosphere will destabilize under mainly cloudy skies.

Saturday will have another round of rain and some thunderstorms later in the day, but severe weather is not expected this time around.