53 NC counties are under alert, including Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties. Details
Published: 2013-06-27 06:31:00
Updated: 2013-06-28 05:36:12
Posted June 27, 2013
Updated June 28, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Thunderstorms with heavy rain, cloud-to-ground lightning and damaging winds fired up in North Carolina's southern counties Thursday afternoon, and new systems were heating up in the Roxboro and Sandhills areas during the 10 o'clock hour.
"These thunderstorms ramp up and then they die down quickly," said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze. "Not showing any signs of being severe, but this will last for the next few hours. Don't be surprised if you hear the rumble of thunder around the Triangle."
Even storms that don't prompt severe thunderstorm warnings can fuel a lot of cloud-to-ground lightning, heavy rainfall and gusty winds, Maze said.
Fueled by a humid air mass and temperatures in the upper 80s, storms hit Harnett, Hoke, Sampson and Wayne counties in the late afternoon, knocking out power to more than 3,000 Duke Energy Progress customers.
The National Weather Service received damage reports of multiple trees and power lines down near Angier, Coats and Erwin.
Thursday's weather mirrored Wednesday's, when storms marched through the area during the early evening, prompting severe thunderstorm warnings for Cumberland, Harnett, Lee, Hoke and Moore counties.
The unusual amount of moisture in the atmosphere is fueling the storms, and the wet weather pattern is expected to stick around through early next week.
"We could see the same scenario tomorrow, too. The atmosphere is just ripe to develop severe weather and thunderstorms," Maze said. "The moisture in the atmosphere is 130 to 150 percent of normal, so these thunderstorms have a lot of moisture to use, dumping very heavy rainfall and potentially some localized flooding." PHOTOS: Scary-looking storms roll through area
Daytime temperatures hovered in the upper 80s Thursday, mixing with a moist atmosphere and another upper-level disturbance that swooped through the state.
By Monday evening, areas in the central and eastern part of the state could see 2 to 4 inches of additional rain. Locations in the coastal plain have the best chance for large rainfall totals, but individual thunderstorms could drop heavy rain across the region and generate scattered flash flooding.
"Next week is going to start off wet, and this juicy atmosphere is staying put," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.