Weather

Severe lightning causes flight delays at RDU, damage to homes

Posted July 24

— According to RDU, all ramps were closed for several hours Sunday night while lightning was within 3 miles of the airport. As a result, several arriving and departing flights were delayed because ground crews were forced to remain inside for their own safety.

On Monday, three flights remained canceled and 24 delays were reported. Lines are long as travelers try to figure out how and when they can reach their destinations.

"I don't know if I'll get out of here tomorrow morning or tomorrow night," said a traveler on Monday who had already been waiting for 25 hours. "The next two flights to Miami are tomorrow."

Airport officials said that several flights that were able to land were stuck on the tarmac until lightning moved out of the area. Those waiting to pick up friends and family members at the airport said passengers were stuck on planes for hours.

"They aren't sure why they're still sitting there, but they know there are like seven or eight planes in front of them and they're not even moving," said Chasney Foster, who was waiting at the airport to pick up a family member who was stuck on the tarmac.

In addition, several flight were diverted from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to RDU because of storms, resulting in hundreds of extra passengers arriving at RDU on Sunday evening, airport officials said.

Airport officials said the ramps reopened at about 7:30 p.m., but said it would take several hours for normal airport operation to resume.

The last of the delayed flights was expected to land at RDU at about 12:45 a.m. "Anyone who is affected by the cancelations or diversions should rebook with an agent at the desks in the airport or over the phone at 1-800-433-7300," said an airport spokesperson.

Wind, lightning cause damage to homes

In Raleigh, the roof of a home on Dunlin Lane was damaged when it was struck by lightning. According to the Raleigh Fire Department, shingles were damaged and trim was missing.

In Cary, a house on Northlands Drive caught fire when it was struck by lightning just after 7 p.m. Authorities said the fire was contained to the attic and a portion of the second floor. No residents were injured, but authorities were assessing the home Sunday night to ensure it was safe.

A Fayetteville home was also damaged by a lightning strike Sunday night. Authorities said lightning struck the home on Santiato Drive just after 8 p.m. The home's attic was damaged by the fire while other areas of the house sustained water damage.

Four adults, one child and a dog were displaced as a result of the fire.

In Franklin County, there were several reports of damage from the storms, particularly downed trees near U.S. Highway 401 and N.C. Highway 98. Several trees in Wake County were also knocked down as a result of strong winds.

In Wilson, storms caused a tree to fall onto a house on Hornes Church Road and crash into the living room where an 83-year-old woman was sitting, according to the Silver Lake Fire Department. The woman was able to escape with only minor scrapes.

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