Warnings wane, threat of storms remains

Posted July 27, 2009

Most of the eastern half of the state saw heavy rain, high winds and hail Monday, as hot, humid conditions gave way to summer storms, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

The most severe line of storms started west of U.S. Highway 1 and moved east throughout the afternoon, tracking north from the South Carolina border and across the Tar Heel State.

By 5:30 p.m., it had passed over Wake County, and the Triangle began to dry out. "The Triangle area is in the clear, for now," Fishel said.

"This is not the typical situation where the threat disappears at sunset," he cautioned. "There is a system in the upper atmosphere driving this. It is not purely heat-related.

"The threat of severe storms does diminish as the evening goes on, but there could be one or two isolated severe storms that pop up later," he concluded.

Severe threat greatest east of Interstate 95

Just before 6 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Sampson County. While no tornadoes were observed on the ground, radar briefly showed rotation just north of Clinton in the area of U.S. Highway 701 and N.C. Highway 43.

"We're seeing a lot of erratic behavior ... on the radar," Fishel said. Wind speeds near Mount Olive were measured at more than 60 mph.

Tornadoes usually form during heavy thunderstorms when warm, moist air collides with cold air. The storms can also produce large hail and strong winds.

As the storms moved north and east into Duplin, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for that area.

Southern Wake felt downpour

Heavy rain, thunder and lightning passed south of Raleigh during the 4 o'clock hour, dumping on communities in southern Wake County and areas further to the south in Lee, Harnett, Johnston and Sampson counties. 

"You do not want to be outside when these storms come in," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said. A gust of wind was measured at 70 mph in Fuquay-Varina, he pointed out.

"Stay indoors at least 20 minutes past when you hear the last clap of thunder," Maze warned.

Johnston County emergency personnel responded to the report of a child struck by lightning in Bentonville. A dispatcher said the child did not appear to be seriously injured.

Wake County authorities said some trees were downed by wind, blocking a portion of Old Stage Road east of Fuquay-Varina.

Areas of Moore and Chatham counties saw heavy rain and hail Monday afternoon. Sanford residents reported heavy rain. In Harnett County, sheriff's deputies said a tree was down and a roof damaged near Jonesboro Road.

Conditions ripe for storms all week

The cloudy, hot and humid conditions make widely scattered showers and storms possible each day this week, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Areas of Franklin County saw damaging winds blow through Sunday, while most of the state stayed dry. On Saturday, hail was reported in Clayton, and radar indicated a tornado over part of Wayne County. No funnel cloud actually touched down, Gardner said.

Daytime highs will reach into the 90s throughout the week, with little cooling during the evening hours. Overnight lows are forecast to stay in the 70s.

A frontal boundary stalled across the center of the state means the weather pattern will hold somewhat steady, even into next weekend, Gardner said.


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  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jul 27, 2009

    I guess you had to be there. I was in Raleigh and Cary and barely saw a few drops and some wind gusts.

  • familyfour Jul 27, 2009

    I am right here and it is, too. I looks pure scary outside.

  • 3boyzmom Jul 27, 2009

    The worst of the storm was over our area while school was due to let out. I called the school to see if they hold the kids a few minutes while the storm passes over. I was told that the kids are called as soon as buses arrive. There was quite a bit of lightning with these storms. I think this is dangerous. Then just read about the child being struck by lightning, although he is assumed to be okay.(Which was my concern) Most thunderstorms are fairly fast moving, and don't require but a few minutes extra waiting. Most adults will wait it out, rather than running through parking lots when there is lightning, why don't they hold our kids?

  • 1Moms_View Jul 27, 2009

    I was in Deep River during the storm. There was pea sized hail where I was too. It looked like a white sheet coming down with the heavy downpour and the strong winds. There were many limbs down in the Deep River and Colon areas afterwards on the roads.

  • concerned carolinian Jul 27, 2009

    I live in the Tramway area and I work in the Deep River area of Sanford. I am not sure how bad it was at home, but it got pretty rough here in the Deep River area. At one point, the wind, rain and hail was so heavy it looked like someone was holding a white piece of paper in front of the window. We had some tree limbs down and some minor flooding. Wow! The lightning was something else! Glad it is over for now!

  • kay4 Jul 27, 2009

    I live in the Tramway /Sanford area. my question is when a bad storm like this comes thru our area it is scrolled across bottom of the tv screen till it gets to Raleigh/Wake co and areas north of Lee and Harnet,then once it gets into wake co wral breaks tv programs to tell about how bad storm is.It is the same one that came thru Sanford so why not give us the same warnings you give raleigh.

  • lucyloo Jul 27, 2009

    I live north of Sanford in the Deep River area. We had pea size hail fall, though not coating the ground. Striped some leaves out of the trees and some minor flooding and the lighting and thunder is going strong.

  • Likestobearrogant Jul 27, 2009

    don't get it why does it keep saying "was under a watch" we still are until 8pm

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jul 27, 2009

    Bring it on. I hope it snows. This hot weather drains the energy right out of ya'.