12,000 power outages reported in Triangle after storms hit; lightning sparks fire


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Heavy thunderstorms Saturday afternoon brought the threat of flash flooding, thousands of power outages, damaging lightning and quarter-sized hail to parts of the Triangle.

Several severe thunderstorm warnings were issued with the last one expiring at 4:30 p.m. A flash flood warning was canceled early for an area of southwest Wake County.

A lighting strike around 4:10 p.m. caused a fire that damaged a small storage building and a box truck along the 6500 block of Mt. Herman Road in northwest Raleigh.

Duke Energy reported about power 7,000 outages in Wake County at the height of the storms.

By 4:15 p.m., that overall number was down to 4,000 in the county with about 450 outages in the southeastern part of Raleigh. About 2,000 outages were reported in Cary.

But, by around 5:40 p.m., the overall number of outages in Raleigh, Orange and Durham counties was around 12,000 according to Duke Energy. In addition to those in Wake County, there were 7,000 outages in southwest Durham and 2,000 outages north of Chapel Hill.

By 11 p.m., only about 250 power outages remained in Wake County, but there were still 5,000 in southwest Durham.

Hail was reported in western Wake County along Interstate 40. There was some flooding also reported along I-40 in the areas before the Wade Avenue exit.

Quarter-sized hail was reported at RDU Airport around 3:45 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Just after 3 p.m., nickel-sized hail was reported in north Raleigh near Falls Lake, the weather service reported.

Frequent lightning was seen throughout the storms, and the National Weather Service warned anyone outside to come indoors.

The flash flood warning was issued after Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain across the warned area. Between 1 and 3 inches of rain have fallen, the weather service said. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly.

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