Red Cross opens shelter after flash floods in central NC

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The American Red Cross opened a shelter Sunday for people forced to evacuate their homes after flooding caused by heavy rains that lashed across central North Carolina.

Six people quickly checked into the shelter at Hillside High School in Durham, Red Cross spokeswoman Brittany Jennings said.

Severe storms that rolled through central North Carolina late Saturday brought some of their biggest impact to Wake, Durham, Nash and Edgecombe counties. Raleigh officials had to use boats to rescue people from their flooded homes and cars.

Shoppers and employees at Crabtree Valley Mall were stranded Saturday night as water rose in the mall’s parking garage rose to the point that some cars were half submerged.

One motorcyclist was killed by lightning Saturday on Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park, The Gaston Gazette reported ( Scott Pasour of Dallas was stopped at the roadside with two other motorcyclists and pulling on rain gear when the lightning bolt struck him. The other men reported they did not see lightning or hear thunder in the area before Pasour was struck in the helmet by a bolt from the sky.

In Johnston County, a motorcycle club was holding a picnic when lightning struck a nearby a tree, knocking a handful of people off their feet and out of their chairs.

Authorities in Raleigh and Cary said one home in each city was struck by lighting and caught fire.

Two weeks of violent summer storms have led to a record-breaking number of requests for Charlotte crews to clear trees and limbs that have crashed to the ground. Crews have worked around the clock to clear roads after more than 500 service requests for downed tree removal, city officials said.

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