Weather

Rivers rise after winter storms

Posted February 8, 2010 8:28 a.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2010 7:29 p.m. EST

— Heavy rains and snow have caused rivers across North Carolina to rise since mid-January, and dozens of counties are under flood watches or warnings.

That's causing problems.

A man and woman in their 70s got stuck in water along R. Jordan Road, off U.S. Highway 421, near a river, Lee County emergency officials said. The couple stayed in the car all night, but in the morning, the husband risked getting out into the water.

He got out safely and found help, leading to the couple's rescue around 8:30 a.m., officials said. The Lee County Emergency Operations Center helped them.

Duplin County dispatchers said that officials told them that schools were delayed two hours Monday because of high water on some roads.

The Cape Fear River is over flood stage in Duplin County. The river is expected to crest after midnight, then fall below flood stage by late Tuesday morning.

Chatham County officials said that there was high water near Jeremiah Drive and Lystra Road, along a neck of Jordan Lake Monday.

Wilson County dispatchers said they received several calls over the weekend about water crossing Pelt Road, near N.C. Highway 222, outside Statonsburg. Residents said that rising water from the Neuse River was blocking about six families from leaving their neighborhood. They said that only big trucks could get through the water.

The flood warnings also cover the Cape Fear River at Fayetteville; the Neuse River at Smithfield; the Tar River in Tarboro, Rocky Mount and Greenville; the Lumber River near Lumberton; the lower Little River at Manchester and Fishing Creek at Enfield.

Flooding could affect the Smithfield Town Park, streets in Tarboro, riverside businesses in Rocky Mount and residential property along the Tar River in Greenville and in Lumberton's The Pines area.

On Monday, Falls Lake was 8 feet above normal, Jordan Lake 11 feet and Kerr Lake 15 feet. From mid-January through Saturday, the lakes each rose at least 5 inches.

Since Jan. 1, 5.38 inches of rain and 5.1 inches of snow have fallen at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, including a record 1.49 inches of rain on Friday. The rainfall total is about six-tenths of an inch higher than normal, and the snowfall total is 1.4 inches higher than normal.

Dry weather let North Carolina start to dry out Sunday, and sunny skies will that continue on Monday, but another storm system is on its way.

"Tomorrow, we're back for another round of cold rain," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "it may mix in some places periodically with a little wintry mix, especially as it begins and ends. ... We're expecting our temperatures to be enough for this to be just a cold rain for us."

The system will bring precipitation to central counties from early Tuesday afternoon into the night.