Rain offers relief over Raleigh

Posted September 26, 2010 10:17 a.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2010 8:02 p.m. EDT

— North Carolinians welcomed the replacement of days of record-blasting heat and drought-creating dryness with seasonably cool, cloudy and rainy weather Sunday.

A cold front has stalled across central North Carolina, ushering in clouds, lowering temperatures and producing rain.

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WRAL-TV viewers in reported between one-half and two inches of rain had fallen by Sunday at 8 p.m.

Thunderstorms rolled through Rolesville and Wake Forest in the 5 o'clock hour packing winds gusting to 45 mph. Even stronger gusts and quarter-sized hail hit Clinton and parts of Hoke and Scotland counties earlier in the afternoon.

Some parts of Johnston and Wake counties saw power outages. A Progress Energy spokesman said most of the outages were weather related, and that it would be restored by 9:30 p.m.

The chance of rain continues throughout Monday night.

"Tomorrow and tomorrow night, we'll have a pretty good chance of rain and rain showers and thunderstorms at times. Tomorrow, we'll have a small chance of strong to severe storms," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said.

Straight-line winds and isolated tornadoes are possible with those storms.

Rainfall totals by Tuesday morning will vary, ranging from a half-inch to up to 3 inches. A small chance of rain showers will linger through Thursday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the French Broad River in Henderson and Transylvania counties in the western part of the state. The mountain areas of the state could see from five to seven inches of rain.

The rain is needed as much of North Carolina is classified as being in a drought as very little rain has fallen in September.

The rain comes at the end of a dry September in Raleigh, which as of Saturday, had only seen 0.13 inches of rain.

Drought conditions, which first appeared in July, have dramatically worsened this month. As of Thursday, 74 counties were experiencing severe or moderate drought.

Meanwhile, the cold front will also bring down temperatures after a string of four consecutive daily records in the 90s last week.

Sunday's predicted high temperature of 83 degrees is 15 degrees lower than Saturday's record-setting high of 98 degrees. Highs in the low 80s or upper 70s stretch through the rest of the seven-day forecast.

"We'll be staying a little more normal for this time of year," Moss said.