About 600 lightning strikes strafed communities north and east of Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, touching off house fires across the region and striking a woman in Gwinnett County.

Around 4 p.m., a storm system that passed through North Fulton County and Gwinnett generated nearly 300 lightning strikes, the National Weather Service said. In Cobb County, 344 lightning hits were reported.

"I've been doing this for over two years, and I've never seen it like this," said Denell Boyd, spokeswoman for Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services.

In Dacula, a woman survived a lightning strike. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for Gwinnett's Fire and Emergency Services Department, said she was conscious at the scene and able to talk to emergency personnel. She was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville.

Lightning caused two house fires within 10 minutes of each other Wednesday afternoon in Cobb. One of the homes, on Knotty Pine Trail in Marietta, was destroyed.

"Still not as bad as Monday night," Boyd said, when Cobb firefighters battled five house fires set within 45 minutes of each other. "It's been a crazy week."

The storms caused four fires in Gwinnett Wednesday afternoon, Rutledge said. One of the homes, on Hillary Lane near Lawrenceville, was a total loss, though no one was hurt, Rutledge said.

Lightning ignited two more structure fires later in the evening, including a minor blaze at Gwinnett Place Mall. No injuries were reported.

On Horizon Drive in Suwanee, Lund International, a motor vehicle parts manufacturer, sustained a partial roof collapse, Rutledge said. The building was evacuated, but no one was hurt.

"It's been a very busy day," Rutledge said.

Though the number of lightning strikes Wednesday isn't out of the ordinary, it's "noteworthy," said forecaster Laura Griffith.

Thunderstorms rocked parts of the metro area the last two nights, and the Weather Service is calling for more of the same through week's end.

"We'll be getting wider coverage the next couple of nights," Griffith said.

And not just after dark. There's a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms through Friday evening, when the chance of precipitation drops to 20 percent. Highs will remain in the upper 80s.

Griffith said the most intense storms are expected Thursday afternoon, and that pattern of afternoon storms is expected to continue through the beginning of next week.

A cold front lumbering through the Ohio River Valley is fueling the unstable weather that has brought much-needed rain but plenty of lightning damage.