Durham County

3-day deluge leaves Durham drenched, but relatively unscathed

Eno River flood waters prompted the closing of Riverwalk in Hillsborough Tuesday.
Eno River flood waters prompted the closing of Riverwalk in Hillsborough Tuesday. The Herald-Sun

A three-day deluge finally let up shortly before noon Tuesday.

Durham was spared the worst of the region's flooding but a precipitation record was smashed Monday with a record 4.51 inches of rain recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The total more than doubled the previous April 24 one-day mark of 1.55 inches in 1944.

Tuesday came close to a record but ... no cigar. Only 2.17 inches of precipitation were recorded at RDU as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, just short of the 2.31 inches recorded there on April 25, 1937.

Sunday’s total of 0.77 inches was well short of the April 23 mark of 1.11 inches set in 1945.

Flooding caused some problems in Durham, but not nearly as much as in some surrounding areas.

Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said a woman become trapped in her car due to high water on Rippling and officers “went door to door to let residents know about the conditions,” Michael said. There were no mandatory evacuations on that road.

She said a Chevrolet Impala hydroplaned in the 2300 block of South Miami Boulevard around 9 a.m. Tuesday and hit a pole, trapping the driver for almost an hour. The injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Durham's Public Affairs Director Beverly Thompson relayed information from the City's Department of Public Works that Old Farm Road and areas bordering the Eno River in Durham experienced some flooding. Flooding was spotted in a few areas off of Lawson Street and in the Hope Valley area.

Some Durham Public Schools buses ran late Tuesday morning. Affected families were advised by DPS’ School Messenger communications system to allow for some additional time for children to be picked up by the bus Tuesday morning.

The City of Durham Department of Water Management reported some 15,750 gallons of untreated wastewater discharged into an unnamed tributary to the Eno River on Monday from a lift station on Infinity Road.

The spill was blamed on the heavy rain.

The lift station was found overflowing at approximately 10:30 p.m. Monday. The overflow was caused by a mechanical failure and heavy rain in the area and was ended at approximately 2 a.m. Tuesday. The surrounding area was remediated and there were no immediately visible adverse environmental impacts or hazards to persons or property.

The Town of Hillsborough announced that its Riverwalk, Kings Highway and Gold Park were closed until further notice due to flooding on Tuesday.

Portions of Riverwalk and Gold Park, located off Dimmocks Mill Road, were flooded by Eno River waters. Visitors and residents were asked to heed closing signs and barricades for safety reasons in Hillsborough.

Chapel Hill police spokesman Capt. Joshua Mecimore said traffic was slowed on East Franklin Street Tuesday morning when a tree toppled near Deming Road. The street was cleared by around 9 a.m. but another tree was reported down, this one on Wesley Drive near Umstead Road, shortly after 9 a.m., Mecimore said.

A southbound vehicle crashed on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Umstead Road and Longview Street around 8 a.m. Tuesday slowing traffic until the crash site was cleared at 8:45 a.m., Mecimore said.

Shortly after the wreck was cleared, Mecimore said, a second accident occurred in the same stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. This time it involved a southbound vehicle, Mecimore said.

Finley Golf Course Road was temporarily closed due to flooding and when Bolin Creek flooded, Cleveland Drive was temporarily closed. Standing waters pooled in parking areas for Chapel Hill's South Estes Drive Public Housing Community and the Camelot Village Condominiums.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks

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