'Supermoon' shines through NC storms

Posted May 6, 2012 9:05 a.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2012 11:17 a.m. EDT

— Storms crashed across North Carolina Saturday night, sparking fires, causing wrecks and toppling trees, but they couldn't keep Supermoon from flying in.

A cold front pushed storms and heavy rain across central and eastern North Carolina Saturday evening, just as the biggest and brightest full moon of the year was rising.

Some lucky WRAL viewers, though, still got glimpses of the supermoon through the clouds.

Claire Johnson spotted it from her backyard in Hope Mills around 11:45 p.m.

"Although overcast, the moon made the skies look so beautiful," Johnson wrote in an email to WRAL.

The Supermoon phenomenon occurs when the moon's orbit brings it closer to Earth than normal. On Saturday night, the moon was 221,802 miles from Earth, about 15,300 miles closer than average. That proximity made the moon appear about 14 percent bigger than it does at its farthest distance from Earth.

The moon appeared at its fullest on the East Coast shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday.

Other North Carolina residents had more prosaic concerns Saturday night as the storms and heavy showers rolled through.

Lightning sparked a house fire in the 600 block of Kingswood Drive in Cary. Police said the fire damaged the second floor of the home and displaced two people, but no one was injured.

Cary police said non-emergency weather-related calls accounted for more than half of the 156 911 calls they received between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Those calls included fires, wrecks, fallen trees and water and sewer backups.

Raleigh set a daily record for rainfall, at 1.59 inches. The rainfall amounts that other areas got varied widely – from 0.98 inches in Goldsboro and 0.68 inches in Rocky Mount to about two-tenths of an inch in Fayetteville and Roxboro.

The recent rainy days have helped lessen but not erase a rainfall deficit for the year.

The Triangle is behind about three-quarters of an inch from the normal total for this time of year, while the Fayetteville area is behind by 2.74 inches.