15 NC counties are under alert, including Cumberland, Johnston, Wayne, Harnett, and Nash counties. Details
Published: 2013-07-12 06:26:00
Updated: 2013-07-12 23:24:00
Posted July 12, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Friday's drenching rains flooded Interstate 40 near Clayton and some crawl spaces and yards in Erwin and sent some Raleigh residents in search of new homes.
"We've got an air mass that's loaded to the hilt with moisture, and the slightest disturbance can cause a lot of heavy rain to develop very, very quickly," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
Slow-moving storms dumped 1.5 inches of rain on parts of Johnston County by Friday evening. Main Street in Wilson's Mills was expected to remain closed until Saturday morning because water covered the road near Wilson's Mills Road. July 12 flooding
"Obviously it was not safe for vehicles to travel," said Wilson's Mills Police Chief David Hess.
In Angier, at Jack Marley Park, the water feature became almost the only feature late Friday afternoon. Water streamed up over the banks and flooded the parking lot.
Clogged stormwater grates sent water over eastbound I-40 at mile marker 321. Cars and trucks inched around the water in single file along the left edge of the highway, creating a heavy wake and lengthy traffic backups.
Department of Transportation crews and State Highway Patrol troopers cleared the stormwater grates, and the water had receded from the highway by about 4 p.m.
To the southwest in Erwin, Mayor Patsy Carson said 20 inches of rain the town has seen in the last month has overwhelmed drainage ditches.
Resident Michael Bryant has water flowing under his home on Iris Bryant Road because of improper drainage in a ditch across the street.
"If you had water running under your house like that every time it rained, how would you feel?" Bryant said. "I want that ditch dug out so it'll catch the water."
Director of Public Works Mark Byrd said the town had to use a pump last week to get water out after heavy rain, but he noted the DOT is responsible for cleaning ditches along state roads in Erwin and property owners need to clear debris from ditches on their own property.
A DOT spokesman said there is no regular scheduled maintenance for Iris Bryant Road, and they don't have a record of any calls from neighbors reporting a problem.
Bryant said he's tired that the state and town "keep passing the buck," but Carson said town officials are trying to fix the problem.
"We're trying, and all we want them to do is to try to understand, try to help us, let us know and we'll do the best we can," she said.
Raleigh has received 30 inches of rain so far this year, which is about 8 inches above average.
City officials issued a news release Friday asking residents to be on alert for potential flooding, avoid driving through standing water and look into purchasing flood insurance, especially for people who live in flood-prone areas.
Jeff Briggs said he is searching for a new place to live, weeks after Walnut Creek flooding forced him from his home in the Brook Hill Apartments complex on Dana Drive in southwest Raleigh.
"They are telling us we have to move because it is considered a flood zone," Briggs said.
The most recent flood forced residents out for several days as apartment managers ripped out soaked carpeting and tried to dry out flooring and drywall.
"We just can't get comfortable within our homes because we are afraid of flooding," resident Wes George said. "It's terrible living here right now."
Many Raleigh businesses also fear flooding. A PNC Bank at the corner of Lake Boone Trail and Wycliff Drive, for example, has sandbags stacked outside its doors as a precaution against high water.
Showers soaked the region Thursday and Friday, pushing down temperatures and ramping up humidity in a summer weather pattern that has persisted for several weeks.
The wet weather was ahead of a slow-moving cold front that stalled over the state, and more showers and storms were possible overnight Friday, mainly along and east of Interstate 95, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
Heavy rains could easily cause some flooding because the ground across the region is already saturated, he said.
After the cold front passes, the rain will depart, sunny skies will return and temperatures will rise into the 90s by mid-week.
"We definitely see an end to this," Fishel said. "Even people who don't like the heat will enjoy it because they're tired of all the rain."