Weather

Sunshine to return Friday as record-breaking system moves out

Posted May 16

— Sunshine and cooler temperatures will return to central North Carolina on the final day of the work week, providing Triangle residents a chance to clean up storm damage caused Thursday by a cold front that dumped rain and prompted numerous severe weather warnings as it crawled through the state.

Parts of the area saw nearly 6 inches of rain, and long-standing records for daily rainfall were broken in both Raleigh and Fayetteville, 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."

In Durham, a storm that prompted a tornado warning Thursday evening downed trees and power lines along University Drive, Hope Valley Road, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Apline Road. Durham emergency management reported trees had fallen on at least three homes, but no injuries were reported.

Duke Energy crews were working early Friday to restore power to more than 1,000 customers.

National Weather Service assessment teams will visit the area Friday to determine if the storm cell did in fact produce a tornado.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said that radar indicated debris in the University Drive area at about 6:20 p.m., a sign that is usually associated with a tornado touchdown.

Margarito Reyes was driving on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway near Hope Valley Road when he saw what he thought was a tornado. Reyes, and others in the area, described the winds as swirling.

"It was a swooshing sound, it was white," he said.

Flash flooding could continue to be an issue for parts of the Triangle early Friday due to rain-swollen creeks. The National Weather Service reported evacuations at Camelot Village apartments in Chapel Hill, a location which has been plagued by flooding problems in the past.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office closed Snow Hill Road between Torredge and Infinity roads due to high water near Durham Technical Community College.

N.C. Highway 55 in Apex was closed temporarily Thursday night between Salem and South Hughes streets. 

In Granville County, emergency crews rescued a man from Tabbs Creek in Antioch after he lost control of his car on Tabbs Creek Church Road at about 4:45 a.m. No injuries were reported in the rescue.

"It takes quite a while for water to recede once it has spilled over the bank of a creek," Gardner said. "Flash flooding could continue to be an issue through the morning commute, especially in problem areas like Crabtree Creek in Raleigh. Just be careful as you head out early Friday."

Sunshine will be out in the Triangle by midday Friday, and daytime highs will be much cooler, topping out in the mid-70s after starting in the upper 50s.

Areas east of Interstate 95 could continue to see showers through the morning hours, and the cold front should slide off the coast by midday.

On Saturday, cooler, drier air will rule, and temperatures will barely crack 70 degrees.

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  • Super Hans May 16, 12:27 p.m.

    Gonna be a bunch of fish kills with all that brime hitting the waterways.

  • PT May 16, 11:26 a.m.

    4+ inches in Whispering Pines, Moore County

  • luvstoQ May 16, 10:03 a.m.

    We had 4 1/2" near Falls Lake!!

  • Geez Louise May 16, 9:49 a.m.

    I too was at the intersection of MLK and Hope Valley in Durham when this white swooshing thing came through. If it wasn't a tornado, I don't know what it was.

  • Holy Carp. May 16, 9:37 a.m.

    Had just under 5" in my gauge in Wake Forest.