Lightning strikes, skies open, temperatures drop

Posted July 9, 2012 6:23 a.m. EDT
Updated July 10, 2012 5:38 a.m. EDT

— Showers and thunderstorms expected to linger across central North Carolina on Tuesday will bring a soggy end to a record-shattering string of 100-degree days in North Carolina.

"We have a cold front that is slowly sagging south across the state," said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze. "Behind the front, the air is so much cooler."

A high of 85 is forecast for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, giving way to slightly higher temperatures over the weekend. 

But the extreme heat didn't go without a fight. Severe thunderstorms that marched across the region Monday evening caused flash flooding and lightning.

There were reports of flooding along Interstate 40 in Greensboro, with 20 to 30 cars partially submerged. And lightning sparked a fire at a house on Woodchase Green Drive in Fuquay Varina. Neighbors reported hearing a loud bang before someone noticed a fire in the attic. No one was hurt.

Maze said temperatures should stay in the double digits for a while. The low 90s, a seasonal norm, return by next Sunday.

"We'll have lots of clouds, scattered showers and storms clear through Friday, but that will keep the big heat at bay," Maze said.

The chances for rain and storms will rise on Tuesday, reaching nearly 90 percent in the late afternoon.

By Saturday, average rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches will have fallen across central and eastern North Carolina, with locally heavy amounts up to 4 to 5 inches.