The unpredictability of Hurricane Joaquin makes the forecast uncertain, but National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sharp says Orange County should expect about 2-4 inches of rain between now and Sunday.
That includes steady rain on Friday and Saturday with spottier rain on Sunday – both from Joaquin and from another system that’s also threatening North Carolina. (Sunday’s weather will hinge more heavily on the hurricane’s track.)
Four inches of rain isn’t as much as other parts of the state are expecting to receive, but it’s still more than enough to create the threat of flash floods, downed trees, and other dangers. Orange County is under a flash flood watch from now through 8:00 Sunday evening. Orange County Commissioners declared a state of emergency on Thursday night, following Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the entire state earlier in the day.
And Sharp says the danger won’t necessarily end when the rain does: there’s also the potential for flooding rivers and streams early next week, as all the rainwater washes into the waterways.
Listen to Sharp’s conversation with WCHL’s Aaron Keck on Thursday.
For now, the town of Chapel Hill is going forward with plans for Festifall on Sunday afternoon. Town officials will receive an update from the National Weather Service at 11:00 Friday morning, though, and organizers will make a decision after that whether to cancel the festival. Festivals and Community Celebrations Supervisor Amanda Fletcher says the wind is actually as big a factor as the rain: if the wind is blowing faster than 20 miles an hour, the festival’s tents won’t be safe. (The forecast currently calls for blustery weather on Saturday, but Sunday – again – is still uncertain.)
Listen to Fletcher’s conversation with Aaron Keck on Thursday.
Fletcher says that as far as she knows, Festifall hasn’t been cancelled due to weather in the past – and certainly not due to the threat of a hurricane.
The last major flood Chapel Hill faced was on June 30, 2013, when the town saw five inches of rain fall in the space of a couple hours. The forecast for this weekend’s storm isn’t quite as bad – but Joaquin’s effect is still yet to be determined.http://chapelboro.com/featured/nws-expect-at-least-2-4-inches-of-rain-by-sunday
Does your heart skip a beat during a downpour and make you wonder how long it will last? Last year’s flood may have heightened your senses to that.
With the potential for rain and thunderstorms through Friday, Chapel Hill stormwater management engineer Sue Burke says the only time the storm water system could be tested is if severe thunderstorms drop high amounts of rain in a short period of time.
“When we’ve had what we call high-intensity-short-duration storms, which means the rain is coming down at a really high rate over a very short period of time, the water then has trouble getting down into the storm drain system there’s just so much of it,” Burke says.
The Town saw 0.66 inches dropped on it Monday. It was spared the same storm Durham saw, which flooded some parts of the city after more than an inch of rain was reported at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Some area’s may have seen more due to the trend National Weather Service Meteorologist Nick Petro says would present the biggest problems.
“The main concern will be poor-drainage flooding as any of these heavy showers are going to move slowly,” Petro says. “There not a whole lot of wind in the atmosphere. So, these things, when they move, they’re going to move very slowly, and they’ll have the potential to dump a lot of rain over any given area.”
Thursday and Thursday night come with the greatest chances of rain and thunderstorms at this point—although the chance of precipitation tops out at 50 percent during the day. The National Weather Service is predicting less than a tenth of an inch of additional rainfall each day, unless a severe storm hits.
Last year, more than two and a half inches of rain fell in the four days leading up to June 30 when 5.12 inches fell in less than 20 hours. Some Chapel Hillians remember that as the worst flood in some 30 years.
Colder temperatures and rainy skies should move out of the area in time for Easter Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
“Rain will basically stay over the area through much of the day Saturday,” says warning coordination meteorologist, Nick Petro. “It looks like that low pressure system that’s brining us the rain will begin to shift to the east on Sunday, and I think certainly for Easter Sunday there’s a pretty good chance we’ll get to see the sun come back perhaps later in the day.”
He says cloud and rain will keep the daytime high around 60 on Saturday, but the high Sunday afternoon with sunshine could reach into the mid- to upper-60s. And, he says we should be done with the overnight lows flirting with the freezing mark again.
“The good news is, low temperatures are going to be holding the mid-40s,” Petro says.
To see the complete forecast for Easter weekend, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/weather-warm-sunday
Saturday, February 15
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools – All activities cancelled
Friday, February 14
– Alamance Burlington Schools – Closed
– Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools – Closed
– Chatham County Schools – Closed
– Duke University – Classes cancelled Friday; Severe Weather Policy in extended to 5 p.m. Friday
– Durham Public Schools – Closed
– Hillsborough Christian Academy – Closed
– Orange County Schools – Closed
– Orange Charter School – Closed
– St. Thomas More Catholic School – Closed
– UNC-Chapel Hill – Classes cancelled; offices closed
– Wake County Schools – Closed
– Chapel Hill Art Gallery – Artist reception postponed to Feb 21
Chapel Hill Transit
Chapel Hill Transit will operate some routes beginning at 10:00 a.m. Click here to find out the current route schedule.
CHT services will follow their normal routes and schedules as long as the streets are safe for travel. If you must travel, be safe, dress warmly and expect delays. Chapel Hill Transit is not running today, 2-13-14.
Where to Get Service Information:
Conditions can change quickly. Before you leave, get the latest updates on weather related delays and detours:
• Check CHT’s Inclement Weather page at www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=696
• Call 919-969-4900 and press “1” for Route and Schedule Information – expect some wait time due to high call volumes
• For EZ Rider Services call 919-969-5544
• Check local TV and radio stations
• Follow us on Facebook —www.facebook.com/chtransit— and Twitter–www.twitter.com/chtransit
CHT’s NextBus system estimates the next arrivals for buses in real time, based on each vehicle’s location and average speed. But when many vehicles are off-route or significantly delayed, it cannot make accurate arrival predictions. NextBus can, however, tell you if your line is delayed, or the location of the next vehicle.
• If there’s no traffic going by your bus stop, walk to a stop on a busy street.
• If your bus stop is in the middle of a hill, walk to the bottom or top where the operator can safely stop.
• Stand back from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop. Buses can slide sideways in slippery conditions.
• Keep in mind, your bus may not pull all the way over to the curb to avoid getting stuck.
Grocery and Drug Stores
Stores may close at manager’s discretion. Call business before leaving home.
Harris Teeter (MLK Blvd, Meadowmont, Estes Dr) – Open limited hours, varies by location. Call location before going.
Food Lion – Weaver Dairy Rd, Governors Dr locations Open, Fordham Blvd location Closed
Kerr Drug – Open normal hours
Lowes Foods – Open
Whole Foods – Opened at 11am Thursday
Fresh Market – Opened at 11a-12p Thursday
Rite Aid – Open normal hours (all Chapel Hill locations)
Trader Joes – Closed at 5pm Thursday
Walgreens (1500 E Franklin St) – Open normal hours
Walgreens (108 E Franklin St) – Closed Thursday
Foster’s Market – Will open at 10am on Friday
Glasshalfull – Will reopen Friday at 5pm
Lantern – Will reopen Friday at 5:30pm
Spanky’s – Will reopen sometime on Friday
Tobacco Road Sports Cafe – Will reopen Friday afternoon
RALEIGH – Another system like the Triangle saw Thursday roles through starting Sunday, and with it will come rain on the front end and cold, cold temperatures on the tail end.
***Listen to Ran Northam’s Interview with National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Scott Sharp***http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/rain-sun-mon-cold-temps-roll-mon-night
RALEIGH – You always hear of people talking about a white Christmas, but what about a white Thanksgiving?
The skies should clear for Thanksgiving Day, but here on the eve of Turkey day, you might see some snow flakes mixed in with today’s rain showers.
National Weather Service Meteorologist, Mike Strickler says not to expect the temperatures to climb much from where they are now.
***Listen to the Interview***
For the latest forecast, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/rain-snow-time-thanksgiving-still-cold
RALEIGH – Orange County escaped another early round of wintry precipitation, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
Before Thanksgiving, we could see heavy rains and cool temperatures.
National Weather Service Meteorologist, Ryan Ellis says right now all the poor weather is to the west and south.
***Listen to the Interview***http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/clear-skies-coming-heavy-rains-snow
CHAPEL HILL – This summer’s heavy rains caused flooding in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but helped some farmers around North Carolina while providing challenges to others.
The heavy rainfall that came this summer shocked many people from around the area, but had various impacts on farmers growing crops. Owner of Walter’s Unlimited farm, Roland Walters, said that the rain only made new seeding a little more difficult.
“It was just a little harder keeping things seeded or putting down new seeding,” Walter said “the produce that was already seeded, nothing growing, wasn’t any problem, wasn’t harmed or anything; we weren’t excessive enough in any way to be flooding or anything of that nature, it just delayed some seeding.”
Walter’s Unlimited raises cattle, hogs, chicken, and also grow a small amount of produce. Walter’s said that although seeding was delayed, the livestock benefited from the rain this summer and the grass that grew out of it.
“This was actually probably the best year we’ve ever had, we rely on a lot of grass.” Walter stated “It’s actually made for better environment and better growth for all our animals.”
Other farmers have had different experiences this summer dealing with the heavy rains and cloudy days. Wild Hare Farm’s owner, Lean Cook, said that the rainy season provided some challenges when growing many outdoor crops.
“It made it a pretty challenging summer with the cooler, cloudy weather and all the rain,” Cook said “it really increases foliar disease in particular, fungal diseases really escalate.”
Wild Hare Farm is not certified organic, but they still do not spray their produce to prevent fungal diseases. Cook grows some flowers and plants indoors which allowed for the rain and weather to not have as big an impact. Cook says that with the rain she encountered problems making out into the fields and dealing with diseases and weeds.
“Yea, spotty foliar diseases, the other thing is when it’s as wet as it was this summer it’s hard to get out an weed” Cook commented.
The weather this summer has been different from the past few years when we had high degree days and little rain. Walter’s says that because of the weather this year his livestock has been doing great.
“Hasn’t been excessively hot like it has the past few years, so I think it’s been a very good year, very good summer for our animals” Walters commented.
Although the rain’s this summer made some of the seeding for the next rotation of crops difficult, more grass has been available for livestock. Walter’s Unlimited had a successful year with the cooler weather and abundance of grass for livestock.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/summer-rains-helped-livestock-but-hurt-produce
CHAPEL HILL – Construction on roads in Chapel Hill is picking up momentum after weeks of rain.
The three big projects are located at Smith Level Road, Weaver Dairy Road, and South Columbia Street. Resident engineer Chris Kirkman says a little extra work has gotten the projects going again.
“Yea it did slow it down, but in the last week–Columbia street for example–we were able to get a lot done, and get a lot done this week so we’re able to regain momentum,” Kirkman says. “They worked this past weekend Saturday and Sunday.”
Kirkman says he’s use to working against the weather to complete a project. However, he says the rain this summer has been the biggest opponent while working on the roads.
“This year obviously, looking at the weather data that this has been unbelievable as far as rainfall the past June and July, fortunately we were able to regain a lot of momentum last week and this week,” Kirkman says
Although rain has slowed construction on the roads during summer, hurricanes could pose similar threats. Kirkman says the construction teams are working to complete the roads by their estimated deadline.
“We would get the section between 86, or MLK, that end of it all the way down to the round about, hopefully that will be done by late August,” Kirkman says.
Kirkman says Smith Level is estimated to be completed in May 2015, and South Columbia will be completed around December 2014.http://chapelboro.com/news/road-construction-gaining-momentum
CARRBORO – Construction on Culbreth Road has hit many delays this summer from soil problems and rain to asbestos water lines. Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, Bill Webster, says a meeting is scheduled later this week to share the progress of the project.
Construction on Culbreth road began June 8 and its planned completion was August 25. Webster says several delays occurred during construction including: rain, an asbestos water pipe, and bad soil.
“The big one right now is we have a serious soil issue that we have to resolve, and as of today I’m not exactly sure how much time it’ll take to resolve it, but we’ll know more by the end of the week,” Webster says.
The soil problems that the construction team faces deal with poor soil found underneath Culbreth Road. Poor soil is not uncommon in floodplain areas, but the construction crew did not expect to find so much poor soil that they would have to dig another six feet.
“But once the road was excavated we found out there actually large areas within the excavation zone which the soils were completely unacceptable,” says Webster.
The three areas in which the construction crew worried about having delays all occurred, but Webster says only more rain at a bad time could continue to cause delays.
The construction crew now has plans for dealing with the soil on Culbreth Road and if they encounter the same problem on the trails later this year, it will not cause as much delay.
“And if there is a problem we’ll immediately communicate it to the community and the schools and everyone else, but right now we’re just not certain,” Webster says.
For more information on the expansion of Fan Branch and Morgan trails, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/development/delays-on-culbreth-road