Sudden showers brings floods, crashes in Durham County

Posted July 8, 2011 9:23 a.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2011 11:24 p.m. EDT

— Heavy rain and rising water caused chaos on the roads during the Friday evening rush hour. Westbound traffic crawled on Interstate 40 from Wade Avenue to Aviation Parkway where a series of crashes, involving dozens of vehicles, slowed progress and closed lanes.

State troopers remained on the scene through the evening to piece together exactly what happened. No serious injuries were reported, but many cars incurred dents and dings.

The storms washed through the western portion of the Triangle first, bringing high water to low-lying areas in Durham. Three people were rescued from a vehicle on Lawson Street between Lincoln Street and N.C. Highway 55, authorities said. 

"It just flooded real quick," said Cameron Walton, a student at North Carolina Central University. "The water started coming in the car. Of course we are soaked."

At the K-mart on University Drive, the rushing water opened a sink hole. The Durham Fire Department participated in a water rescue in the parking lot there.

Nana's Restaurant on University Avenue also saw flooding on Friday afternoon. It was the third time since late May that the Rockwood Building, home to Nana's saw similar flooding. The restaurant owner has been pressuring the city for a fix. 

Reports of Durham flooding

View Durham flooding in a larger map

Wet weather continues Saturday 

Scattered showers could continue to pop up through the night Friday, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. Some storms could become severe, with damaging wind gusts and small hail.

On Saturday, a cold front moving in from the north will interact with tropical moisture streaming up from the south. Scattered storms and rain could develop any time during the day, and temperatures will stay in the mid to upper 80s.

The cold front will usher in drier air, drastically reducing the chances for precipitation on Sunday. The chances for rain drop to virtually zero next Monday and Tuesday.

In place of clouds and storms, the heat will return as the work week begins, sending temperatures soaring through the 90s by mid-week.