Cold front stirs up storm activity ahead of 10-degree cooldown

Posted July 24, 2013 10:41 a.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2013 5:28 a.m. EDT

— Thunderstorm activity ramped up in central North Carolina Wednesday evening ahead of a cold front that will put an end to the 90-degree temperatures.

"We're going to have a good deal of thunderstorm activity, I think, tonight," said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel. "Then temperatures perhaps more than 10 degrees cooler tomorrow than they were today."

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Wake, Halifax, Chatham and Lee counties. In the Pine Hall neighborhood in Raleigh, residents reported toppled trees and downed limbs.

Nearly 2,000 people lost power in Wake County at the height of the storm.

In Durham, downed power lines from the storm closed N.C. Highway 54 in both directions from Fayetteville to Barbee roads. 

Overnight, the approaching front continued to produce thunderstorms in several parts of the Triangle. By early Thursday morning, most areas dealing with precipitation were seeing light to moderate rain. 

"We could have some wet roadways for the morning commute, so be sure to give yourself extra time getting to work today," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Southern counties could continue to see scattered showers and storms Thursday as the front makes its way into South Carolina.

Wednesday's high temperature topped out at 96 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, but Thursday's high is only expected to reach the low 80s – about 10 degrees below normal for late July.

By Friday, the daytime highs will be back into the mid-80s and will remain there through the weekend, Gardner said.

"Once we get through today, which is going to end up being the hottest day of the week, we'll see cooler, drier air filter in," she said.

On Friday and Saturday, the drier air and lower humidity will create "beautiful" conditions for spending time outside, Gardner said.

"Our overnight lows will dip into the 60s both Friday and Saturday, so it's really going to be a nice change," she said. "On Sunday, we'll have another chance for afternoon showers and storms."