Weather

Storms herald start of summer

Posted June 20, 2008 6:37 a.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2008 7:16 p.m. EDT

— Thunderstorm watches went up just after 3 p.m. for counties south and east of Raleigh and most of eastern North Carolina. The watches indicate that conditions are ripe for storms to form any time before 9 p.m.

Some downed tree branches were reported in Cumberland County where pea- to dime-sized hail was spotted in the area of Fort Bragg.

"This is not what you would call a widespread event," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. The strongest storms moved across Lillington, Sanford and Carthage just before 5 p.m.

"The storms should diminish once the sun goes down," Fishel said, and predicted clear skies by midnight.

But wet weather remains in the weekend forecast.

WRAL meteorologist Chris Thompson said Saturday will start out cloudy and only reach a muggy high of 85 degrees. By late afternoon, he said, showers and thunderstorms will be widespread across the state.

"Areas of heavy rainfall and torrential downpours are possible, particularly Saturday night," the National Weather Service predicted.

The wet weather continues Sunday. "This is a good, solid rain," Thompson said. "Everybody should see some by Sunday night."

The rainy forecasts raised hope of more help with the drought that is gradually reasserting itself across the state despite some springtime relief.

Thompson predicted rainfall totals of one-half to more than an inch across the Triangle by the end of the weekend.