Students trying to catch up on sleep during finals week received a rude awakening Wednesday morning when the campus sirens were set off to signal a tornado warning.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, Duke University Police Department issued a DukeAlert containing information about the tornado warning and activated the siren system. About 10 minutes later, radars indicated that the storm might be focused nearer to campus, and DUPD set the sirens off for a second time, said Vice President of Administration Kyle Cavanaugh. Though the warning was in effect until 6:15 a.m. and heavy thunderstorms passed over campus, no twisters were reported touching down in the area.

"From a communication perspective and a coordination perspective, it worked very, very well this morning in terms of ability to get information out quickly," Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh noted that the University had been monitoring the possibility of a tornado since this weekend, and the Severe Weather Action Team watched the storm through the night and into the morning.

"The challenge with tornadoes is that they're highly unpredictable," he added.

The tornado watch was issued for a number of nearby counties this morning—including Orange, Chatham, Wake and Granville— and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also activated its campus sirens.

Although twisters did not touch down in the Triangle area, several were spotted in eastern North Carolina. Several counties have canceled school Wednesday, and minor damages have already been reported.

"It is important for folks to stay tuned to local weather reports because another round is expected to hit later today," Governor Pat McCrory said in a statement. "Safety should be everyone's top priority."