Lightning-packed storms, floods stream through central NC

Posted August 21, 2011 2:23 p.m. EDT
Updated August 22, 2011 7:41 a.m. EDT

— A cluster of central North Carolina counties, including Wake and Durham, saw severe thunderstorms throughout Sunday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, flash flooding, excessive lightning and large hail to many areas.

More than 8,600 Progress Energy customers were without power as of 10 p.m. and another 3,000 Duke Energy customers lost power in Durham. The utilities expected to restore service by the end of the night. 

"A lot of rain has fallen (and) flooding has really been a major issue throughout the evening," said WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner.

Between 4 and 6 inches of rain fell in northern Wake County, 2 inches in central Wake County, 3 inches in Johnston County and 4 inches near Rocky Mount. Parts of Nash County, where flash flooding was the most severe, saw up to 5 inches of rain, Deaner said.

Swelling flood waters blocked about 60 people from getting in or out of their homes in the King's Way mobile home community in Rocky Mount.

Also in Nash County, downed light poles, power lines and trees along West Mount and South Halifax roads caused traffic delays in the area for several hours, dispatchers said. 

Storms also unleashed damaging winds, which reached speeds of 60 mph. Tornado warnings were issued in nearby Robeson and Bladen counties around 5:15 p.m., but the National Weather Service did not report any tornado touchdowns in those areas.

Bright sun rapidly warmed the day from an overnight low that dipped into the 60s and sent temperatures past the 90-degree mark by afternoon, bringing showers that increased in intensity to severe thunderstorms after sundown.

A few scattered showers are possible Monday morning, but the forecast for the rest of the work week is dry and sunny with daytime highs around 90 degrees and overnight lows in the upper 60s.