Storms result in record rainfall at RDU

Posted July 14, 2014
Updated July 15, 2014

— 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.


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  • Jim Frei Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    For historical context, Hurricane Fran dumped 9.45" at RDU on Sept 6 1996.

  • Zorg Jul 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I've got the WRAL Weather Alert App. I got 2 warnings yesterday around 4 - Greg Fischel talking out of my pocket in a meeting I was in. Freaked everyone out.

  • raleighboy524 Jul 16, 2014

    Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

  • luvstoQ Jul 16, 2014

    SEANKELLY15, was just stating a fact - also, was just going by this article, not any other news.

    Definitely was 'not' being critical of our 'weather people' - I'm one of their biggest champions and really appreciate them.

    Ended up with a little over 4" here just north of Falls Lake!! (between Mon. and Tues.)

  • Jordy Jul 16, 2014

    Are people really complaining about the accuracy of the storm warnings?
    This is North Carolina during the summer months! July and August's forecast should be " Oppressively hot with a 80% chance of thunderstorms!" I created my own at home storm warning system, when the sky gets dark and I hear thunder I know there are storms headed my way...

  • Thomas Hannan Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    LUVSTOQ - "Began here at 4pm - not after 5pm as they said."

    You didn't listen to yesterday's weather report. Elizabeth Gardner said around 5 but as early as 4 and as late as 7. First, NO ONE CAN PREDICT THE EXACT MOMENT THAT A STORM WILL START. And, second, WRAL reported that it could be as early as 4. Either you didn't actually listen to the report or you didn't understand what was said.

  • Ronnie Johnston Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    It amazes me the ignorance of people that complain to the TV stations because they did or did not issue a watch, warning etc. BREAKING NEWS: The National Weather Service issues the warning not the TV, Radio Stations!!!

  • hollylama Jul 16, 2014

    Are they sure it wasn't 4.20 inches?

  • miseem Jul 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    They should for all those people that think the world revolves around them. Or that have not woken up to the fact that these intense summer storms are always hit and miss.

  • John Ragan Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    it rained yesterday, some got wet some didn' those that did I salute you....quack.....quack