Slow-moving storms dump rain on Triangle; 16,000 lose power
Posted July 30, 2011 9:55 a.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2011 10:02 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A slow-moving thunderstorm drifted across central North Carolina Saturday, dumping several inches of heavy rain, continuous lightning strikes and hail from Halifax County in the north to Wake County in the south, WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner said.
Some areas, including Raleigh, saw up to two inches of rain.
"A whole lot of rain falling this evening; we need the rain, but we're getting a lot of it in the form of strong thunderstorms," Deaner said.
Wind gusts downed power lines, knocking out power to about 10,000 Progress Energy customers in Garner, 3,500 Progress Energy customers in Raleigh and 2,700 Duke Energy customers in Durham, according to the utilities.
Power had been restored to all but about 100 customers by Sunday morning.
Lightning sparked a fire in the attic of a house on Davidson Point in Cary Saturday night. Firefighter said that no one was hurt, and they contained the fire to the attic.
In downtown Raleigh, the ComeUnityNow festival benefiting victims of the April tornadoes was dampened by the weather, which caused many festival goers to head home early.
The storms were expected to last overnight and into Sunday morning, when rain and clouds were expected to bring relief from Friday and Saturday's triple-digit temperatures.
"We may not get out of the 80s Sunday, then we'll be back to 95 degrees Monday," said WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson.
By next Wednesday, temperatures will again be pushing the century mark.
Johnson said the Triangle's record for the most days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees in a single year might well be broken.
Through Saturday, this year has seen nine days of 100-plus degree temperatures at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where the Triangle's official records are kept.
At this point in 1999, six days of triple-digit heat had been recorded. That year set the record at 12 days.
"We may end up breaking that record before the summer is out," Johnson said.