From floods to fires, weather made 2017 memorable

Posted January 1, 2018 7:00 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

Weather is always big news in North Carolina. We closely watch the coast during hurricane season and root for (or against) the delight of a winter snowfall.

In 2017, weather again captured our attention in its many extremes. Here is a look at some of the most memorable weather stories of the year.

Series of fall hurricanes batters Caribbean, U.S.

First there was Harvey, then Irma, then Maria. For a few weeks in September, the Atlantic churned, the winds blew, floodwaters rose and damage piled up.

In addition to the photos of devastation out of Houston came a story that hit closer to home. A Raeford family mourned the loss of six members who died when their van was swept into surging waters.

WRAL's Ken Smith headed to his family home in the U.S. Virgin Islands to survey the damage left behind by Hurricane Irma. While there, he was able to spend time with his parents in St. Thomas.

Help from the Carolinas poured into the hurricane zones in the form of donations, volunteers and crisis teams both military and religious.

Many continued their recovery work into the depths of winter. As 2017 came to a close, only about half of the island of Puerto Rico, which took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, had seen power restored.

In NC, winter means watching, waiting

The year started with the standard "will it or won't it" type of snow forecast familiar to Triangle residents. The predictions and the anticipation captured attention in the first week of 2017.

While Raleigh saw mostly sleet, people in Person County and the Triad woke up to a winter wonderland and managed to make the most of it.

All eyes on the sky for solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse, visible, at least in part, across much of the United States, drew tourists along its path, prompted eclipse glasses panic and, in the end, inspired with the amazing power of Mother Nature.

Softball-sized hail smashes cars

While strong winds and heavy rain ushered in Labor Day weekend across much of the Triangle, the southern part of the area, such as Sanford, Angier, Willow Springs and Fuquay-Varina, saw dangerous hail the size of golf balls and larger.

Cars and windows were damaged from the severe weather, and thousands were without power by 6 p.m. Many roofs in Harnett and Lee counties were damaged, and a house in Holly Springs was struck by lightning and caught on fire.

Tornado damages fire department in Autryville

The EF1 tornado, with winds up to 110 mph, ripped apart the Autryville Fire Department's firehouse, damaged or destroyed four mobile homes and caused minor damage to a few businesses in town, officials said.

At least one person was injured.

After the storm passed, the first responders still tried to do their job even though all but one of the fire department's trucks were damaged.

Greg looks ahead. Will we see show in 2018?