Raleigh Highway Floods; Storm Ignites Lightning Fires

Posted May 12, 2007 6:31 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2007 9:39 p.m. EDT

— Mother’s Day weekend got off to a bumpy start Saturday, as storms caused flooded roads and lightning fires throughout the Triangle area.

Capitol Boulevard was temporarily closed at Johnson Street early Saturday evening because of flooding. Traffic was being detoured through a nearby parking lot, and police were on the scene directing traffic around the flooded area. The road reopened to motorists a couple of hours later after flood waters receded.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for Durham and Orange counties for Saturday evening.  Other weather advisories were also issued for Wake, Pitt and Samson counties early Saturday evening.

WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner said scattered rainfall and storms are possible throughout Saturday evening. Clouds will clear Sunday morning, with less humidity and highs remaining in the mid-70s Sunday.

Raleigh emergency dispatch officials said multiple lightning fires were reported early Saturday evening. None of the fires were serious and no one was hurt, authorities said.

Progress Energy officials said there were about 1,200 power outages reported by its Raleigh customers late Saturday afternoon. Duke Power also reported about 450 outages scattered across Durham, Wake and Granville counties Saturday evening.

There were multiple reports of flooding on Sewell School Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Road in Chapel Hill. Neither road was closed early Saturday evening, but police urged motorists to be careful in those areas.

Franklin County communications officials said a bolt of lightning struck the Rock Springs Baptist Church at 3822 N.C. Highway 39 South between Bunn and Louisburg late Saturday afternoon, starting a fire inside its steeple. The blaze damaged equipment within the steeple, but the structure of the church didn't suffer serious damage.