Local News

Evening storms could add even more to local lakes

Posted September 9, 2008 11:12 a.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2008 9:15 p.m. EDT

— Evening thunderstorms Tuesday could bring even more rain to area lakes already inundated by Tropical Storm Hanna. A cold front brings the chance of scattered storms.

Quite a bit of storm activity was detected near Fayetteville, with a batch of storms moving from southwest to northeast and bringing a fair amount of cloud-to-ground lightning to some areas.

"There are no warnings, at this point," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said Tuesday evening. "But certainly, there's some strong storms out there."

At 5 p.m., another batch of storms was also moving east through southwestern Chatham County, near the Lee County line.

"There's more activity out to the west of Greensboro and Charlotte, and this looks like the kind of night that we could be dealing with off-and-on showers and thunderstorms all night long, perhaps even into the morning rush hour," Fishel said.

Tuesday's conditions signal a change in Triangle weather with cool, wet, fall-like days forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

It comes after Tropical Storm Hanna raised lake levels, including pushing Falls Lake to just shy of 257 feet – almost 5.5 feet higher than the 251.5 feet considered normal for that lake, the Army Corps of Engineers reported on its weekly conference call Tuesday.

The Corps begin gradually releasing the excess Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman said the releases will increase from 500 cubic feet per second Tuesday to 2,000 cubic feet per second Wednesday and 3,000 cubic feet per second Thursday. Those rates should not pose a flooding danger to communities downstream, the Corps said.

According to the Corps' weekly status report, Jordan Lake was expected to peak Tuesday at 222.5, 6 feet above the norm.

Flood threat lessens

The rain-strengthened Neuse River is no longer a threat to Goldsboro, scientists said.

"The National Weather Service has advised me that the river has crested and that we shouldn't have any other problems with additional flooding," Derrick Duggins, Johnston County emergency management coordinator, said Monday.

The focus of attention has turned to Kinston, where the Neuse is expected to crest sometime Saturday. The combination of locally heavy rain from Hanna and water flowing downstream could bring the river to 14.5 feet, a half-foot above flood stage.

Flood warnings were still in effect Tuesday for Bladen, Lenoir and Robeson counties.

In Durham County, a bridge on State Forest Road was washed out, forcing traffic to be detoured north of Bahama.

Franklin County reported on Tuesday that Hanna caused three wastewater spills. A total of 2,500 gallons of untreated wastewater was released Saturday from overflows at the Franklinton and Youngsville pump stations and at the intersection of Cedar Creek and Lane Store roads. After the storm had passed, county crews made repairs and cleaned up the spills.

Drought status to be determined

Full lakes and flowing streams signal a measurable difference in North Carolina's groundwater, WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said Tuesday.

Forecasters and residents alike will be watching the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council's weekly update Thursday for signs that Hanna has eased the drought across the Triangle.