Sunset brings return of spring storms

Posted March 20, 2012 5:33 a.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2012 9:24 p.m. EDT

— Storms popped up in central North Carolina again late Tuesday afternoon, after morning thunderstorms sparked several house fires.

"A nice, mild, almost 80-degree afternoon" will give way to cloudier skies and a better shot at scattered showers and storms, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

A similar weather pattern will last for the rest of the week: off-and-on shots at showers and storms, warm temperatures in the upper 70s and partly cloudy skies.

"We'll be nice and quiet in terms of our temperatures, but almost summerlike in terms of those afternoon storms cropping up," Gardner said.

The chance for rain dies on Thursday and Friday but is expected to revive on Saturday.

Temperatures will take a gradual decline. By next Monday, the high is expected to be in the low 70s.

Tuesday is the first official day of spring. Temperatures normally hit daily highs in the mid 60s and lows in the 40s this time of year.

Earlier Tuesday, lightning flashed in the sky and heavy rain fell on roads just before the morning commute as storms passed through Wake and Durham counties on their way to southern counties. Later, rainbows shone over homes and highways throughout the Triangle.

Wake County emergency dispatchers said a lightning strike shortly before 7 a.m. caused a house fire in Morrisville, where firefighters said they had gotten dozens of calls about structure fires.

A family of three safely escaped a lightning-sparked fire at their Tayport Drive home in Cary. The family said they heard a boom and then a crackling sound a few minutes later.

Fuquay-Varina firefighters said lightning sparked minor blazes there, and there were also reports of house fires in Apex.