Published: 2008-12-12 05:26:00
Updated: 2008-12-12 08:07:04
Posted December 12, 2008
Raleigh, N.C. — While Thursday's weather packed a swift punch full of rain and tornado watches, Friday will be the cool, calm day after the storm.
Leftover clouds and sprinkles from the storm will give way to sunshine Friday, along with much cooler temperatures. Daytime highs will reach the upper 40s to mid 50s.
Runoff is a concern, however. The National Weather Service posted a flood warning for the Neuse River at Clayton and Smithfield in Johnston County until further notice.
"Recent heavy rainfall will cause the rivers to rise above flood stage," the weather service said.
A 6:15 a.m. measurement at Clayton showed the river was at 6.5 feet, rising toward flood stage of 9 feet, the service said.
The river was expected to go above flood stage early Saturday and crest at 12.1 feet Sunday afternoon, forecasters said.
In Smithfield, the Neuse was at 9 feet Friday morning. Flood stage is 15 feet. Forecasters said the river would get to 17.4 feet Sunday afternoon and would flood Smithfield Town Park.
Saturday will be mostly sunny and cool with highs in the mid 40s. Sunday will be a bit milder with temperatures in the mid 50s. Next week is expected to warm up with temperatures in the mid 60s.
Bands of rain, some heavy, swept through the state Thursday. There were no reports of major damage, but the storm may have been responsible for a house fire in Chapel Hill.
Earlier in the day, tornado watches were issued for several counties, including Wake, and heavy rainfall sparked some flood advisories.
In Fayetteville, a driver went 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.
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.