Storms result in record rainfall at RDU
Posted July 14
Updated July 15
Raleigh, N.C. — Thunderstorms packing lots of lightning, winds of up to 50 mph and driving rain slashed across the Triangle Tuesday afternoon, making a mess of the evening rush hour and leaving behind the chance for flooding in low-lying areas.
The rainfall totaled 4.19 inches at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, setting a record for the date and resulting in delayed and canceled flights.
At its peak, over 500 Duke Progress Energy customers in Wake County were without power.
The storms caused flooding in a number of places:
- In Raleigh on Capital Boulevard, Millbrook Road and Avent Ferry Road.
- In Cary on Cary Parkway, YMCA Drive and at the intersections of Bowden Street and Chapel Hill Road and Westin Parkway and Evans Road.
- In Durham on University Drive and West Club Boulevard.
West Williams Street in Apex was closed after a branch fell on a power line.
The National Weather Service had much of central North Carolina under storm watches and warnings from about 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The chance for more storms remains throughout the evening, but any storms that form are not likely to be as severe, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
"We can't rule out some more severe storms in the Sandhills, where their atmosphere has not been worked over so much," he warned.
Skies darkened and clouds gathered over Durham and Wake counties just before 5 p.m., but the line of storms, moving at 40 mph, had largely moved toward the Interstate 95 corridor by 6:30 p.m.
A powerful cold front – the same system responsible for chilly temperatures in the Midwest – is driving the storms and promises to bring cooler, drier air behind it.
Dewpoints in the 70s accounted for the thick, sticky air that enveloped much of the region Tuesday. By contrast, dewpoints will drop into the 50s on Wednesday.
Behind the front, the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and seven days with highs only in the 80s.