93 NC counties and 1 VA county are under alert, including Wake, Cumberland, Durham, Johnston, and Orange counties. Details
Published: 2019-08-22 05:49:00
Updated: 2019-08-22 23:31:42
By Elizabeth Gardner and Mike Maze, WRAL meteorologists
Raleigh, N.C. — The thunderstorms that herald a change in the weather by the weekend began firing up Thursday just before the evening rush, bringing 60 mph wind gusts and quarter-inch hail.
By 7 p.m., parts of Wake, Johnston and Harnett counties were added to active severe thunderstorm warnings. Those warning have since dropped as most of the storms move east and away from the WRAL viewing area.
“Some of these storms may be on the stronger side,” WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said earlier Thursday. "Damaging winds, heavy rain, hail and frequent lightning are possible."
Amid heavy rain, police and emergency personnel responded to an accident that closed Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. Around 8 p.m. Thursday, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze confirmed two homes in Wake County were hit by lightning. Both were in the 7900 area of Mitchell Mill Road in Rolesville.
"Use extreme caution," Northern Wake Fire Department warning on Twitter.
Drivers were forced to detour, using Beechnut Trail, Old Creedmoor Road and Norwood Road.
At Raleigh-Durham International Airport, dozens of afternoon and evening flights were delayed by the bad weather, some for hours.
In Rocky Mount, Roanoke Rapids, Nashville and Tarboro, the National Weather Service warned of straightline winds strong enough to down trees and power lines.
Thursday was a hot day leading up to the storms, with a high around 93 degrees. Friday will mimic Thursday, with a dry morning but another chance for afternoon and evening storms. According to Gardner, Friday evening could be wetter than Thursday.
Despite the severe weather expected Thursday, a handful of high schools moved their Friday night football games up one night. That's because it's expected to rain Friday night and for most of the weekend.
“It looks like a rainy evening,” Gardner said. “It is not looking good.”
Most of central North Carolina will be under a level 1 threat for severe weather on Friday, too, as another front approaches from the south.
While the Triangle will see patchy rain on Saturday and Sunday, North Carolina's coast will have more rain as a tropical system passes to the east.