Rising Neuse puts Johnston under flood warning

Posted November 11, 2009

— A forecast for at least one more day of drenching rains across central North Carolina prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning along the Neuse River from Wednesday through Saturday evening.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Ida blended with an area of low pressure off the coast, bringing several inches of rain to the state Wednesday. The forecast called for several more inches on Thursday and early Friday.

Raleigh reported 3.67 inches of rain between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 9 p.m. Wednesday. Chapel Hill reported 3.53 inches during the same period, while Fayetteville saw 3.96 inches.

"More rain is definitely on the way," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said

Wednesday was the third-wettest day recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since 1944, according to WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson.

Crabtree flooding concerns prompt action Crabtree flooding concerns prompt action

The weather service posted flash flood watches and wind advisories for all but a handful of North Carolina's 100 counties. Small stream flood warnings were posted in urban areas as well.

Property owners near Crabtree Creek in Raleigh, which is notorious for flooding during heavy rains, took precautions as the creek began rising Wednesday morning.

Residents at Brookhill apartments on Dana Drive were evacuated.

“We got up just in time to move our vehicles. Probably, a couple of hours after that, authorities came and helped evacuate everybody and all the buildings,” Brookhill resident Mark Kaziah said.

Car dealers on Wake Forest Road cleared vehicles off their lots and moved them to higher ground. Crabtree Valley Mall managers taped off sections of a parking garage to keep customers' vehicles dry.

"It's pretty nasty, rainy and chilly, but it's not going to slow us down," said Allison King, who was shopping at the mall with her mother. "We're just going to continue to enjoy our time together."

"As long as we don't have any flooding and we get out of the drought, we're good," shopper Kimberly Horne said.

Three years ago, Crabtree Creek flowed out of its banks when Tropical Storm Alberto dropped 5.6 inches of rain on Raleigh in a single day. WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said the current system is different in that it's moving more slowly and the rain will be spread over a few days.

In Fayetteville, officials were keeping a close eye on Cross Creek, which was also swollen Wednesday evening.

Water rushing into a storm drain in Carrboro caused a 3,600-gallon sewage spill near Rosewalk Lane and Berryhill Drive, according to the Orange Water and Sewer Authority.

Raleigh street crews and state Department of Transportation workers spent much of Tuesday clearing dead leaves from storm drains to prevent the drains from clogging and flooding nearby areas.

Slick roads caused several wrecks across the Triangle Wednesday morning, and the Interstate 440 Beltline was especially treacherous.

A car hydroplaned and flipped over on westbound I-440 between Glenwood Avenue and Lake Boone Trail shortly after 2 a.m., and crews had to cut a woman out of the car. A pickup overturned on eastbound I-440 between Six Forks and Wake Forest roads about 10 minutes earlier.

"We've got a lot of water on the roads. ... You just need to go slow," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "It's one of those days that, if you don't have to go out, don't go."

Traffic moved along area highways slowly and steadily during evening rush hour.

Winds were gusting at 20 to 30 mph Wednesday, and Fishel said gusts could reach 40 mph late Wednesday and Thursday.

"Those winds are going to be staying as strong, if not getting stronger," he said. "With the additional rain and the wet soil, the potential will be growing for more trees to come down."

Wind gusts downed several trees, causing scattered power outages Wednesday.

A tree hit several cars at the Rock Haven Apartments complex in Carrboro. An oak tree that was more than 40 years old narrowly missed hitting Frank and Linda Hicks' house on Blaney Franks Road in Apex.

"It jarred the ground. We felt it. We both jumped up and said, ‘What was that?'” Frank Hicks said.

Another oak fell on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus, blocking the entrance to a classroom building and shattering several windows.

The wind and flood warnings prompted Pender County Schools to delay classes by two hours on Thursday. Harrells Christian Academy is also delayed by two hours Thursday.

The storm that started the week as Hurricane Ida weakened Tuesday after making landfall in southern Alabama. It was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved east over the Florida panhandle.

Moisture from that system joined forces with a cold front and a separate low pressure system off the coast of North and South Carolina to produce a nor'easter that Fishel said would continue to dump rain on the eastern half of the state into Friday.

The weather service predicted another 1.5 inches of rain in Raleigh by Friday and almost an inch in Fayetteville. Coastal areas would likely bear the brunt of the nor'easter, with more than 3 inches forecast in Beaufort and 7.5 inches in Elizabeth City.

Fishel said the Triangle could see more rain that that, though.

"We're not going to rule out that we're going to have additional heavy rains," he said. "As we head into Friday, it does appear the heaviest rain starts to shift to the north and east, and we will have lighter, spottier rains."

Cloud cover will keep temperatures in the low 50s Thursday and the upper 50s Friday, with overnight lows in the upper 40s.

The skies should finally clear Saturday afternoon, and highs were expected to be in the upper 60s to low 70s on Saturday and Sunday.

"If we can just get past the next couple of days without any major problems, we're home free," Fishel said.


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  • time4real Nov 11, 2009

    "do you consider Alamance in the NW Piedmont"

    nope, but it's in the viewing area because that goes all the way to Texas!

  • bobbyj Nov 11, 2009

    conserve water we are still in a draught.. that is media driven.

  • Adelinthe Nov 11, 2009

    "More likely it is old people that run over other people in parking lots increasing premiums."

    It has been lately, but both very young and very old drivers have high risk statistics.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Nov 11, 2009

    "Car dealers on Wake Forest Road cleared vehicles off their lots and moved them to higher ground."

    I just bet they did. Experience taught them that.

    I wonder if they've also cleared the U-Haul place on Capital Boulevard; that almost always gets it. And if it gets real bad, the Coke Plant on Wilmington will be underwater too.

    God bless.


  • PirateHeist Nov 11, 2009

    its these aspiring Mario Andrettis of the world that make insurance premiums higher for everyone.

    More likely it is old people that run over other people in parking lots increasing premiums. If you are on a highway and you want to go slow there is more than one lane.. why not be courteous and move over instead of going the same slow speed as the guy next to you. I drive a reliable foreign car, no dodge for me. I don't beep horn or flash either.. too many crazies out there. Maybe they should have separate lanes for cautious drivers and aggressive drivers, would probably solve the majority of the problems. I know I move out of the way when someone "comes up on me" .. only a jerk tries to prove a point by blocking them.

  • wiseowl Nov 11, 2009

    from NWS:

    The position of the 700mb low
    suggest the best potential for precipitation banding to occur in vicinity of the northwest Piedmont. Thus expect moderate to possibly heavy rainfall to develop or spread back into the northwest Piedmont this evening and continue overnight into Thursday. Additional rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches probable with locally higher amounts. This axis of heavy rain may extend east-NE along the Virginia border counties as well."

    do you consider Alamance in the NW Piedmont, time4real?

  • wiseowl Nov 11, 2009

    PirateHeist must be the driver of the giant Dodge Ram I saw on the Durham Freeway last night in a downpour running up on people who were already going 5-10 over and flashing lights and beeping his horn to move over.

    its these aspiring Mario Andrettis of the world that make insurance premiums higher for everyone.

  • BULLDOZER Nov 11, 2009

    Somewhere in tomorrow's headlines there should be "Triangle is out of drought conditions." But, for some reason, I think that headline will never be written or seen in the news.

  • 8675309-9 Nov 11, 2009

    Time4Real is from burlington...that explains it all.

  • BearPWN Nov 11, 2009

    haha, good vision and hand eye coordination may apply if you are trying to hit a fastball but with all the X factors on the roads, you should be counting your blessings not boasting...