Weather

Cold front passing, cooler temps ahead

Posted December 11, 2008 5:26 a.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2008 10:07 p.m. EST

— Bands of rain, some heavy, that swept through the state on Thursday will lead to cooler temperatures after midnight, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

There were no reports of major damage, but the storm may have been responsible for a house fire in Chapel Hill.

The storm system, which caused severe weather in Louisiana and Mississippi earlier in the week, pushed through the Triangle late Thursday.  Fishel said he expected the front to have cleared the WRAL viewing area by late Thursday. The chance of rain continues overnight, however.

Temperatures were expected to start dropping after midnight, Fishel said.

Earlier in the day, tornado watches were issued for several counties, including Wake.

Flooding


Heavy rainfall sparked some flood advisories earlier in the day.

Check on road conditions.

In Fayetteville, a driver ran into a flooded ditch. Jesse Partida said he climbed onto the roof until the fire department could pull him out.

"I turned around and (my car) fell right into the water, hood first. I tried to reverse, but the car wouldn't back up. All of a sudden, the water just started rising up to my knees,” Partida said.

Also in Fayetteville, one person was killed in a weather-related accident on Pamalee Drive.

House fire causes $1 million damage


A home at 1067 Canterbury Lane, overlooking the Chapel Hill Country Club fairways in Chapel Hill, caught fire on Thursday afternoon. The homeowner said the fire started after lightning struck the home.

The owners said they heard a big "boom" and saw a flash of lightning before the home began to shake. They saw a flash run down the chimney, and then flames coming from the basement.

Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Matt Lawrence said inspectors were trying to determine the cause, but noted that neighbors reported the strike. He estimated damage to the home at $1 million.

Neighbor Michael Brogren said he heard the noise four miles away at UNC Hospital.

“We even heard it there. It made a lot of folks duck down in the parking lot,” Brogren said.

Paramedics rushed one firefighter to the hospital after he complained of chest pains. The firefighter was listed in stable condition Thursday evening.

Chapel Hill firefighters had help from Durham, Carrboro, New Hope and Parkwood fire departments as they tried to stop the stubborn blaze. Clouds of smoke rolled westward above U.S. Highway 15-501.

Looking ahead

Friday should bring spotty sprinkles and increasing sunshine. However, the day will be breezy and much cooler, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

The weekend will be sunny and pleasantly cool, with highs again in the upper 40s to low 50s. Morning lows will be back below freezing.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual again next week.