Authorities say 14 vehicles were involved in the crash.
It happened in the southbound lanes of the interstate at exit 138, the NC 61 ramp near Whitsett.
Only minor injuries were reported but the accident tied up traffic for most of the afternoon.
Sixteen victims were taken to Moses Cone and Wesley Long Hospitals, both in Greensboro, and to Alamance Regional Hospital in Burlington.
The pileup began when a burst of rain obscured visibility and made rain-soaked roads even more slick.
Some drivers slammed on their brakes, perhaps trying to avoid a separate four-car wreck near the side of the road.
``It was just chaos,'' said Bryce Michaud, who maneuvered her Grand Cherokee around the cars in front of her but was hit three times from the rear.
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