Rain, Storms Hit Friday Night

Posted April 5, 2008 6:44 a.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2008 3:35 p.m. EDT

— Thunderstorms and rain began rolling back into central and eastern North Carolina Saturday afternoon after a lull in activity in the morning and storms and rain overnight.

"We can't count a little bit of rain any time today," WRAL Meteorologist Mike Moss said.

A line of storms passed over central North Carolina Friday night, producing severe thunderstorms, high winds and large hail. WRAL received reports of downed trees and damage, particularly to the south and east.

"It was a little bit tough at times around the area, I suspect," Moss said. "I know some thunder kept me up a couple times last night."

That system moved to the coast by Saturday morning, producing a number of lightning strikes along the way. It left behind clouds and a few light showers over the Triangle.

Through 7 a.m., the National Weather Service reported that 0.55 inches of rain had fallen at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, while Chapel Hill saw a little over a quarter of an inch. Observers for the NWS reported 0.90 inches had fallen in Fayetteville over the past 24 hours.

Conditions will become right for later Saturday for more rain and storms. Low-level moisture and warm, unstable will continue to flow in from the South and interact with an upper-level trough and frontal boundary moving from the west throughout the day.

"We do have a slight risk of severe thunderstorms, mainly over about the southeastern half of North Carolina from around the Triangle area south and east this afternoon and evening," Moss said.

There is a slight risk of damaging wind gusts, large hail and perhaps isolated tornadoes.

The new system could drop even higher rainfall totals on the Triangle.

"Rainfall as we go through the next 24 hours as this system moves across the state, is indicated to be quite copious," Moss said.

"The model's showing anywhere from about 1 to 2 inches of rain for a lot of us," he continued. "And within some of these narrow streaks and bands, some of us may end up with 2 to 3 inches before this thing's all the way over with."

The system will produce a few sprinkles Sunday morning and then move out to the coast. It will leave clouds behind over the Triangle.

Those rainfall totals could bring significant drought relief.

On Saturday morning, the Triangle's rainfall deficit stood at 1.08 inches for the first quarter of 2008, 5.32 inches for the past 12 months and 8.45 inches since January 2007.

“From a rainfall standpoint, this is just what the doctor ordered,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.