Storms flooded highway, houses

Posted July 5, 2008
Updated July 6, 2008

— Homes and a highway were flooded, electric service failed and more than 3 inches of rain fell in spots Saturday as rain and storms hit the Triangle for the second straight night.

All lanes of Interstate 40 were closed due to flooding near mile marker 278 in Durham early Sunday. Traffic was detoured from exit 279 to the Durham Freeway and exit 276 to Fayetteville Road, along N.C. Highway 54.

The closures began around 1:45 a.m., and some lanes were reopened within 45 minutes. The whole interstate was clear by 5 a.m.

State troopers said that although the high water posed a driving hazard, there were no accidents. Poor drainage caused the flooding.

Between 1 and 2 inches of rain flooded six buildings in Chapel Hill and one in Carborro, dispatch officials said. A creek caused heavier flooding in an apartment complex on Booker Creek Road.

About 1.5 inches fell in about 40 minutes on Orange County, and the intensity of the rainfall caused flooding, WRAL Meteorologist Chris Thompson said.

Edgecombe and Halifax counties also reported street flooding.

Downed trees were reported in Durham, Chatham and Edgecombe counties. A downed tree on U.S. 15/501 near Lystra Road in Chapel Hill took about an hour to remove from the scene, authorities said.

Rocky Mount and Kenansville posted impressive 24-hour rainfall totals: 3.13 and 3.43 inches, respectively. Chapel Hill, with 2.5 inches, and Roanoke Rapids, with 2.52 inches, weren't far behind.

Raleigh collected 0.89 inches; Burlington and Siler City, nearly 1.9 inches; and Clinton 1.4 inches.

Fayetteville received only 0.07 inches of rain.Revealing the variable coverage of the storms, nearly 1.3 inches of rain fell on Oxford, but a county over, Roxboro got 0.16 inches.

Power was still out to about 575 Duke Energy customers in Durham around 9 a.m. Sunday. Both Duke and Progress Energy crews were also working on scattered outages in counties throughout WRAL News' viewing area.


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  • oldschooltarheel Jul 7, 2008

    How much rrain did Durham get? I saw Chapel Hill & Raliegh among others mentioned but what was Durham's recorded amount? Was an amount recorded in Durham?

  • john60 Jul 7, 2008

    The interstate's drainage system is NOT designed for a 100 year event; IIRC those systems are to handle either a 10 year or 20 year event, and that's based on a 5-10 minute long rainfall. If it rains for a longer time but at a lesser intensity, or if the drains are clogged for any heavy rain, then yes, the road can flood.

    The 100 year design only applies to major structures like culverts and bridges over streams.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jul 7, 2008

    I-40 isn't supposed to be flooding! It's built to 100 year rain event standards, 3 inches of rain should not exceed that amount.

  • veyor Jul 7, 2008

    Quick, turn off the sprinkler systems.