Cold front passing, cooler temps ahead

Posted December 11, 2008

— Bands of rain, some heavy, that swept through the state on Thursday will lead to cooler temperatures after midnight, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

There were no reports of major damage, but the storm may have been responsible for a house fire in Chapel Hill.

The storm system, which caused severe weather in Louisiana and Mississippi earlier in the week, pushed through the Triangle late Thursday.  Fishel said he expected the front to have cleared the WRAL viewing area by late Thursday. The chance of rain continues overnight, however.

Temperatures were expected to start dropping after midnight, Fishel said.

Earlier in the day, tornado watches were issued for several counties, including Wake.


Heavy rainfall sparked some flood advisories earlier in the day.

Check on road conditions.

In Fayetteville, a driver ran into a flooded ditch. Jesse Partida said he climbed onto the roof until the fire department could pull him out.

"I turned around and (my car) fell right into the water, hood first. I tried to reverse, but the car wouldn't back up. All of a sudden, the water just started rising up to my knees,” Partida said.

Also in Fayetteville, one person was killed in a weather-related accident on Pamalee Drive.

House fire causes $1 million damage

A home at 1067 Canterbury Lane, overlooking the Chapel Hill Country Club fairways in Chapel Hill, caught fire on Thursday afternoon. The homeowner said the fire started after lightning struck the home.

The owners said they heard a big "boom" and saw a flash of lightning before the home began to shake. They saw a flash run down the chimney, and then flames coming from the basement.

Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Matt Lawrence said inspectors were trying to determine the cause, but noted that neighbors reported the strike. He estimated damage to the home at $1 million.

Neighbor Michael Brogren said he heard the noise four miles away at UNC Hospital.

“We even heard it there. It made a lot of folks duck down in the parking lot,” Brogren said.

Paramedics rushed one firefighter to the hospital after he complained of chest pains. The firefighter was listed in stable condition Thursday evening.

Chapel Hill firefighters had help from Durham, Carrboro, New Hope and Parkwood fire departments as they tried to stop the stubborn blaze. Clouds of smoke rolled westward above U.S. Highway 15-501.

Looking ahead

Friday should bring spotty sprinkles and increasing sunshine. However, the day will be breezy and much cooler, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

The weekend will be sunny and pleasantly cool, with highs again in the upper 40s to low 50s. Morning lows will be back below freezing.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual again next week.


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  • canesnut Dec 11, 2008

    The rain is too late for my 'maters. They done dried up.

  • kidsrn Dec 11, 2008

    well, I guess if your house is hit by lightning, better it be now that after the house insurance rates are jacked up 33%. But seriously, I feel bad for the poor Chapel Hill house owner whose home was destroyed by lightning. How awful.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Dec 11, 2008

    Ya know, better this is rain than snow.....We'd all have cabin fever for weeks!!!

  • unc70 Dec 11, 2008

    I was less than two blocks away from the house in Chapel Hill when it was struck. It was one of the stongest lightning strikes I have ever experienced, and it came without any previous strikes nearby. I was inside and did not see the bolt itself, but the flash coming through the windows was almost blindingly bright, immediately joined by the loudest explosion of thunder in my 60 years.

    Disoriented briefly, my first thoughts were not of weather but an image from film made during early tests of atomic bombs showing a blinding flash of light through the windows quickly followed by an intense shock wave. Quickly realizing that it had been lightning and that our house was intact, I started checking those of my immediate neighbors fully expecting to find it had hit some very close, either a house or one of the tall trees.

    It is hard to imagine what it was like for the person who was in the house. Eyewitness reports describe the house as expoding, blowing out the windows, etc.

  • wakemom Dec 11, 2008

    online i just see a green screen and no video! i can hear greg talking.

  • patriotsrevenge Dec 11, 2008

    standsforgotten, get over it.

  • Proud Airman Dec 11, 2008

    Why are we still under water restrictions?

  • bs101fly Dec 11, 2008

    there's more dead time on air when Greg Fishel is ad-libING through a weather crisis than at an Elvis concert!
    It's like wathcing a telethon!!

  • Adelinthe Dec 11, 2008

    Praying for all in paths of storms, and for those who lost their home, and for all the emergency workers.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • sbunc92 Dec 11, 2008

    How has the forecast been wrong?