Lighter rain, flood dangers follow record downpour

Posted August 28, 2008

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— Tropical Storm Fay's remnants swirled through North Carolina, setting off a second round of showers early Thursday afternoon.

"The low-pressure system really starts to fizzle out over the next 24 hours," WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "We're still dealing with an unstable air mass, but the craziness of yesterday is unlikely to repeat."

The National Weather Service warns that with the rain-soaked ground, any storms that develop could set off flooding.

Chatham County is under a flood warning until Friday morning. Around 10:30 a.m., the Haw River was running at 13.6 feet, more than 2 feet above flood stage.

A band of storms dumping as much as 2 inches per hour around Wilson prompted an urban and small-stream flood advisory for Wilson and southeastern Edgecombe counties but that advisory was canceled Thursday afternoon.

"Don't go out on the Haw River unless you're an expert kayaker," Gardner said. "Don't go out in your canoe, or they'll be after you to rescue you."

A fallen tree forced police to restrict southbound traffic to one lane and divert from northbound vehicles from North Roxboro Street/U.S. Highway 501 during the morning commute. Urban Forestry crews took several hours to remove the tree.

Teresa Poole said she was driving a black Kia Optima she bought just two months ago when she saw the tree falling towards her.

"I had just pulled out of the community on my way to work, and as I was going down the road, there was a tree, and I was in it," Poole said.

Poole said she swerved and managed to get herself out of the tangled wreck. The tree dented the entire length of the car and cracked the front windshield, and Poole suffered minor injuries and got a neck brace.

But Poole said she's grateful to be alive – and able to make it to her wedding in three weeks.

On Glenoaks Drive in Durham, officials reported that flooding had washed a 1,000-gallon liquefied natural gas tank off its base at a home and into woods, and it was leaking Thursday morning.

On Friday, rainfall will be more isolated as the remnants of Fay move out. A cold front will move in on Saturday, creating a chance for afternoon storms.

Record rainfall floods streets, homes

Raleigh set a new record for rainfall on Aug. 27, with 3.43 inches falling to top the 13-year-old mark.

Heavy rain fell west of Interstate 95 over the past 48 hours: more than 5 inches in Chapel Hill, nearly 4.5 inches in Burlington, and more than 3 inches in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Oxford.

Closer to and east of the I-95 corridor, though, the rainfall totals are dramatically different: approximately 0.60 inches for Rocky Mount and Roanoke Rapids, up to 1.01 inches in Goldsboro.

All that rain had authorities trying to keep drivers off flooded roads and homeowners trying to clean up flooded houses on Wednesday night, particularly in Durham, Lee and Chatham counties.

In north Durham County, a lake overflowed, flooded streets and wound its way into front yards along Mason Road.

"We literally have lakefront property right now, about 30 feet from our houses, and we're in a no-flood zone," homeowner Wanda Guthrie said. "We have been here 11 years, and we have never, ever, ever seen what's going on now."

Six inches of water crept into David Dickson's house on Farrell Road – soaking newly installed carpet. Volunteers with the Redwood Fire Department helped him dry things out.

"The sewer got stopped up and messed up everything I got in the house," Dickson said.

Storms downed at least a dozen trees along a quarter-mile stretch in Silk Hope, Chatham County fire officials said.

Rain came down fast in Lee County, too quickly for the ground to absorb. Ramps from U.S. Highway 1 onto U.S. Highway 15-501 flooded, and crews diverted drivers away from the trouble spot.

Little Buffalo Creek, which locals say a person can normally jump across, widened and rose, nearly touching the bottom of a bridge at Amos Bridges Road in Sanford.

Further down Amos Bridges, a swollen lake expanded over the roadway, prompting John Kroes to abandon his car. Kroes said he deemed it safer to walk home from work, wading through the water.

Franklin County faced a different challenge – three waste water spills to which the heavy rain contributed.

Authorities said 9,500 gallons of untreated waste water was lost during the spills at the Franklinton Pump Station, Cedar Creek and Lane Store roads, and the Industrial Park Pump Station. Crews have repaired the sites, and started clean-up efforts. They remain on site to monitor the situation through the rain event.

Western counties get inundated

Gov. Mike Easley planned to leave the Democratic National Convention in Denver Thursday morning to view storm damage in harder-hit western counties. Easley planned to hold a news conference in Cabarrus County.

Cabarrus officials declared a state of emergency after storms damaged 60 structures and made 11 roads impassable. About 100 home in Mecklenburg County were flooded, some with as much as 5 feet of water, said county emergency management director Wayne Broome.

State Department of Transportation crews have been working since Tuesday to clear rock and mudslides in western North Carolina. The DOT also said off ramps of Interstate 85 at U.S. 52 in Salisbury were closed Wednesday by flooding.

Charlotte got 8.65 inches of rain Monday through Wednesday. Tuesday's accumulation of 5.35 inches shattered a record set in 1891.

In the drought-parched mountains, Asheville received 5.36 inches of rain during the same time period. It also set a record on Tuesday, getting 4.01 inches of rain.


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  • FoolOnTheHill Aug 28, 2008

    Please note that the John Locke post was on April 5, 2008. So, jsanders point was not correct. That being said, the lake is hanging around its historical norms for this time of year. Right now, it is at 250.84, so it is only about 8 inches down from full.

  • ncwebguy Aug 28, 2008

    Maybe, just maybe, people will stop beliving anything the Art Pope/John Locke Foundation pumps out. Who needs science when you have the (made up) facts?

    I was hoping for more of a "soaking" rain event, but we got waves of hard rain and flash flooding. It will help fill ground water table and lakes, but took down a lot of trees/tree limbs with it.

    I *hope* the area can dry out some before the next storm remnants come through so as to not repeat Fran's tree uprooting due to soft wet soil.

  • piperchuck Aug 28, 2008

    "Y'all remember when Falls Lake was "going to be dry by this summer"? It's been at full stage (or more) since April."

    LOL, y'all really need to find a better, more accurate, source of information. The last day Falls was at full was July 22. As recently as yesterday it was 1.7 feet below full. So much for your source saying it's been at or above full since April!

  • mcondor Aug 28, 2008



    BOONE 1 SE 11.40
    BURNSVILLE 9.4 SE 11.18
    HARRISBURG 0.8 S 10.84
    CONCORD 4.9 SW 10.30
    CHARLOTTE 8.66

  • Heel from Hell Aug 28, 2008

    "The news stations were showing Doppler estimates of 10 inches in some areas. Anyone in those areas actually know what the correct amount was? Anyone know what Charlotte and farther west received?"

    The Charlotte Disturber said that Mecklenburg received approx 11 inches, although I'm sure that varies by the location and topography. I grew up in Hickory, and the home folks said they ended up with 5-6 inches. Asheville got clobbered, but nothing like Ivan a couple of years ago...Record rainfall at Grandfather Mtn as well, I hear.

    Those folks in Western NC REALLY need it (albeit not all at once) so sounds like good results all around. Be safe around those creeks today!

  • jsanders Aug 28, 2008

    Y'all remember when Falls Lake was "going to be dry by this summer"? It's been at full stage (or more) since April.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 28, 2008

    I think we need more flooding so that it washes away the evidence of our instant, throw away society.

  • HopingForABetterWorld Aug 28, 2008

    The news stations were showing Doppler estimates of 10 inches in some areas. Anyone in those areas actually know what the correct amount was? Anyone know what Charlotte and farther west received?

  • djcnty8 Aug 28, 2008

    All I can say is thank you for the much needed rain. I pray that no one suffered badly through the storms over the last day or two.