Storms let loose heavy rain, lightning on Triangle

Storms kicked back up south and east of the Triangle Friday night after producing lightning that crippled Cary's 911 system until early Saturday and caused at least four house fires in Wake County.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A slow-moving weather system with lightning that sparked at least four house fires in Wake County on Friday afternoon could kick up storms overnight in the Triangle.

"We still have the evening to go," WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said. On radar, "storms (are) still showing off to the west, and there's the likelihood they'll continue after midnight."

Late Friday, heavy rains prompted an urban and small-stream flood advisory was issued for northeastern Sampson County.

Overnight, the greatest chance of storms will be west of the Triangle and Rocky Mount. Large hail and damaging wind gusts might accompany the storms.

An upper-level low-pressure system and a weak surface trough created scattered thunderstorms and showers throughout Friday afternoon and evening.

Storms dumped heavy rain – 2 to 3 inches along N.C. Highway 158 in Vance and Warren counties less than 90 minutes; 3 inches in western Wake and eastern Chatham counties; 2 inches at Rolesville; 1.5 inches at Falls Lake; and between 0.75 and 1.5 inches in and around Fayetteville.

Lightning struck Cary's communications tower, and town officials asked residents to call 911 only in the case of "significant and immediate threat to life, health or property." Crews were able to restore the town's radio systems to full operation after several hours, officials said early Saturday.

Lightning strikes caused two fires at two hours in Cary, at 119 Thornwood Drive and 101 Lacoste Lane. Town officials did not report any other significant storm damage.

Raleigh fire officials said lightning sparked a house fire at 1805 Lormier Road around 4 p.m., fire officials said. Crews brought that fire under control within a 45 minutes, but 10 percent of the building was damaged, and four people were displaced.

Firefighters responded to a reported lightning strike at home at 1017 Bellwood Farms Road, Wake dispatch officials said.

At the height of the storms, more than 4,000 Progress Energy customers lost power in Wake, Franklin, Harnett and Halifax counties.

For updates on outages, visit Progress Energy's Web site or Duke Energy's Web site.

The upper-level disturbance will continue to create a chance of showers and strong but scattered thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon and evening. The best chance for storms will be along and east of the U.S. Highway 1 corridor.

The trough should lift by Sunday, allowing for drier weather.