Raleigh, N.C. — A severe thunderstorm quickly sprang up northeast of Chapel Hill Monday afternoon, threatening several central North Carolina counties with heavy rain and damaging winds, according to WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.
Lightning appears to be the cause of a house fire on Hoboken Court in Apex, police said.
Wake County emergency dispatchers have also taken calls about lightning fires at a Midwood Drive outbuilding and houses on Legacy Oaks Drive and Hinton Oaks Drive.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Alamance, Orange, Durham, Granville, Wake, Harnett, Lee, Franklin, Nash, Johnston, Wilson and Chatham counties.
The storm popped up in Alamance County around 5 p.m. before advancing into other areas along the Interstate 40 corridor.
Another summer storm rolled into Moore, Montgomery and Richmond counties southwest of Raleigh, according to the National Weather Service.
Storms are a side effect of typical July weather, which kicked off another week of hot and sticky conditions in central North Carolina Monday, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
"It’s going to be awfully hot and awfully sticky for the next seven days, with a chance of thunderstorms each of the next seven days," Gardner said. "Just July weather for us."
With high temperatures climbing to around 95 degrees Monday, Wake County school officials decided to cancel the first day of school at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School due to a malfunctioning air conditioning system. The school is scheduled to open Tuesday.
"Easily, for a good chunk of the afternoon, it's going to feel like 100 to 105 degrees," Gardner said.
Monday afternoon and evening will see a 30 to 40 percent chance of isolated storms. Those chances will grow to 60 to 70 percent late Tuesday afternoon, and some storms could be severe, with high winds, hail, lightning and locally heavy rain.
"These thunderstorms that pop up this week will be widely scattered and should not produce a lot of widespread rain," Gardner said.
This past weekend, lightning from similar storms sparked a fire that ruined a house at 559 Jamestown Road in Pittsboro.
The heat will also keep up throughout the week.
The daily highs will see-saw between the mid and upper 90s, and Tuesday will be within striking distance of the daily record of 99 degrees, set in 2010. Often, the heat index will make it as if it's over 100 degrees.
"Really, we don't have much of anything coming to give us a break this week. It's just going to be hot and sticky," Gardner said.