Calm follows storms' spectacular light show

Posted July 29, 2012 8:17 a.m. EDT
Updated July 29, 2012 3:43 p.m. EDT

— Mostly sunny skies and calm conditions Sunday followed a spectacular but dangerous light show sparked by strong to severe thunderstorms across the Triangle, Sand Hills and eastern North Carolina.

The storms marched through Saturday night, bringing heavy rainfall, gusty winds and a dazzling amount of lightning. Some areas also saw dime- to nickel-sized hail.

"An upper-level disturbance moving by, along with a weak frontal boundary, brought a band of showers and very strong thunderstorms across central North Carolina during the evening for a short time," said WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss.

Over the 48-hour period between Friday and Sunday morning, nearly one and one quarter inches of rain had fallen in Raleigh, as well as an inch in Roxboro, an inch in Rocky Mount, a half-inch in Goldsboro and less than a quarter-inch in Fayetteville.

"As usual with these convective clusters of showers and thunderstorms, the amounts of rainfall vary quite a bit from spot to spot," Moss said.

Despite powerful wind gusts Saturday – a blast of 66 mph wind was recorded at Raleigh Durham International Airport – damage reports were not widespread, Moss said. Downed tree limbs caused problems in one north Raleigh neighborhood and blocked Preston Andrews Road in Durham County. 

The heat and humidity will continue to beat down on central North Carolina Sunday, but Moss said the chances for afternoon showers and thunderstorm is slight.

Storm chances go up to about 30 percent on Monday afternoon, possibly making for a wet evening commute, and conditions will be most ripe for thunderstorms on Tuesday.

Highs in the low 90s are predicted from Monday to Friday. If the Triangle tops 90 degrees every day through Tuesday, it would mean 26 days in July of 90 degrees or hotter weather, which would set a new record for the area.