Saturday storms wreak havoc in Raleigh, Durham

Posted July 16, 2016 9:32 a.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2016 6:27 p.m. EDT

— Severe storms rolled through central North Carolina Saturday evening, bringing flash flooding, water rescues and power outages to the Triangle and surrounding counties. Wake, Durham, Nash and Edgecombe counties were among some of the hardest hit areas.

In Raleigh, officials rescued a woman and three children from a vehicle at King Lawrence and Baker roads, and another rescue involving four people was reported on Dana Drive.

Several vehicles were also submerged at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Creedmoor Road, which was shut down due to dangerous flood waters.

Shoppers and employees at Crabtree Valley Mall were stranded due to high water in the mall's parking garage Saturday night. Photos and video from shoppers showed numerous cars more than halfway covered as water continued rising. By Sunday morning, the flood waters in the garage had receded.

In Durham, five vehicles were stranded at the intersection of Garrett and Old Chapel Hill roads, according to authorities.

I-40 at South Saunders Street suffered massive traffic backups during the evening storms, and a power line fell on a car at Wade Avenue and Dixie Trail.

According to authorities, several vehicles remained submerged Sunday afternoon on Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of Hodges Street.

Severe lightning was part of the equation, too.

A motorcycle club was having a picnic off Highway 210 in Johnston County when lightning struck a nearby a tree, knocking a handful of people off their feet and out of their chairs. "My whole right side was numb," said one of the club members. "My friends said I was several feet in the air."

According to authorities, a house on Dublin Road in Raleigh and another home in Cary on Preston Grove were struck by lighting and caught fire.​

In Durham, five vehicles were stranded at the intersection of Garrett and Old Chapel Hill roads, according to authorities.

Crews had to use boats to save 16 residents from the Brook Hill Farm apartment complex off Jones Franklin Road in Raleigh, where flood waters entered first floor units and covered the windshields of cars in the parking lot.

According to fire crews, at least 30 homes were flooded in this neighborhood off Dana Drive.

"I was told that I couldn't go home tonight and I should find somewhere else to stay," said a resident. "I have no idea what's going on in my house right now."

Many of the residents said that they had no idea that the deep water was rising in the parking lot outside until water came pouring in through their air conditioning units.

The water receded late Saturday, and some residents were able to remain inside of their homes overnight. Crews will assess the units Sunday to determine if people can live in them anymore.

At 11 a.m., the Red Cross opened a shelter at Hillside High School in Durham for those who had to evacuate their homes. According to officials, six people are using the shelter.

“Last night, we experienced heavy rain, flash flooding, stranded motorists and power outages across the Triangle,” said Barry Porter, regional chief executive of the local Red Cross. “Right now, it's our top priority to make sure people feel safe, are fed and are on the road to recovery.”