The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Durham, Wake, Johnston, Wayne and Sampson counties through 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, as rain continues to fall on saturated ground.
Upwards of two inches has fallen since mid-morning Tuesday, and another one to two inches are possible in those counties, according to the weather service. The rain will quickly run-off, causing creeks and streams to overflow their banks, the weather service said.
The rain is expected to continue into Tuesday morning before tapering off as the weather system working its way up from the south moves out and the sun shines again on Wednesday. Up to 6 inches could fall in parts of central North Carolina before the storm is all over, according to the weather service.
If the forecast is correct, it would be the most rain central North Carolina has seen since Hurricane Matthew last fall, far surpassing the 1.93 inches of rain recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport the first three days of January.
“We haven’t surpassed that 1.93 at the airport yet,” said meteorologist Barrett Smith said Monday morning. “But it could end up being the largest since Matthew. If not, our forecast is pretty bad.”
But people shouldn’t expect the same level of flooding as when Matthew swept through, Smith said.
“It’s not comparable in that sense,” he said. “But we’re still cautioning that there will be some flash flooding and some roads covered in water.”
Thunderstorms are expected Tuesday morning followed by more rain and then more thunderstorms after 3 p.m.
A flood watch continues for central North Carolina through Tuesday morning, and forecasters said to expect flooding in streams and creeks and standing water on roads. Rivers will rise “significantly,” but the weather service predicted only minor flooding along their banks.
The Haw River is expected to crest at Bynum on Tuesday afternoon, while the Tar River should crest at Louisburg on Wednesday afternoon and on Friday evening in Tarboro, according to National Weather Service forecasts.
Some areas outside the Triangle could get as much as 5 inches before the rain eases up and ends by Wednesday morning.
The storm caused power outages to thousands of Duke Energy customers in North Carolina on Monday.
More than 48,000 of those customers were in Charlotte, which had received as much as 4 inches of rain by Monday morning.
More than 2,250 customers were without power in Durham near the Northgate Mall on Monday morning after downed trees or limbs damaged electrical equipment. About 500 more were without power in Cary and east Raleigh on Monday.
Other major outages were reported in the Winston-Salem area and Cabarrus County.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett