Durham cleans up, Triangle dries out after storms
Posted May 16
Durham, N.C. — Residents cleaned up and dried out Friday from a storm that dropped a tornado into one southwest Durham neighborhood and up to 6 inches of rain in about an hour across the Triangle the night before.
Thursday's rainfall broke records in Raleigh and Fayetteville as well, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
"We saw more than 3.5 inches of rain in Raleigh from this storm system, and we set a daily record on Thursday with 3.38 inches. The old record was set in 1934," she said. "We also set a daily record in Fayetteville with 3.52 inches."
The National Weather Service confirmed Friday afternoon what radar indicated at the height of the storm – that Durham was hit by a tornado with winds of up to 90 mph.
Durham County sheriff's deputies spent Thursday evening responding to reports of high water, shorted traffic signals and weather-related automobile accidents.
"It was all over," sheriff's office spokesman Paul Sherwin said.
Much of the damage was contained to an area between Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard to the north and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to the south. Despite dozens of trees down, roads flooded and car crashes, no one was seriously injured, Sherwin said.
At Yates Baptist Church, Geneva Ross was working inside when an old tree toppled in the parking lot.
"I heard this 'whoosh,' and I walked out to look, and I thought, 'Let me just back up," she said.
Thousands of Durham-area Duke Energy customers were without power for at least part of Thursday evening.
Outside Durham County, the storm left flooded parking lots and rising creeks in the usual low-lying areas.
Raleigh's Crabtree Creek and Neuse River both breached their banks. There was standing water in some parking lots along Capital Boulevard, and on roads and greenways near both waterways Friday at noon.
At Grove Park Apartments just south of Crabtree Creek, water ran into the parking lot, but no homes were damaged.
Cars were trapped by high water in the Lowe’s parking lot off U.S. Highway 70 in Garner, and there were reports of pea-sized hail in Rougemont.
Residents of Camelot Village apartments in Chapel Hill, a location which has been plagued by flooding problems, had to evacuate their homes as the rain poured down.