Lightning strikes injure nine, spark house fire

Posted April 9, 2011 10:56 p.m. EDT
Updated April 10, 2011 7:57 a.m. EDT

— Strong thunderstorms blew across North Carolina on Saturday night, sparking lightning that struck homes and people and dumping large hail that smashed car windows.

The Charlotte Observer reported that nine people were injured in Burke County when they were struck by lightning at a dog show at the county fairgrounds. An emergency dispatcher said a dog was also struck.

A supervisor at Grace Hospital in Morganton said two people were admitted, two were treated and released, and one was transported to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

In Raleigh, lightning struck the roof of a home on Harbour Towne Drive. Neighbors called authorities shortly before 8 p.m. after hearing loud thunder and seeing smoke.

Flames damaged the roof and the attic, but crews extinguished the fire by 8:30 p.m. No one was home at the time, and no one was injured, authorities said.

The storms dumped nearly an inch of rain across the Triangle, causing some traffic problems. Cary police put up signs warning of high water along Lilly Atkins Drive.

Hail the size of baseball reportedly damaged several planes at the Gastonia airport.

A tornado warning was issued for Rutherford and Cleveland counties at one point, but authorities haven't determined if a tornado touched down.