Slow-Moving Storms Pose Biggest Threat To Stormwater System

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.

Current Forecast

Schools Closings and Power Outages

Due to hazardous travel conditions (downed trees and power lines) and wide spread power outages that remain, two school districts remain closed Monday:

Orange County Schools (optional teacher work day)

Alamance Burlington Schools


Duke Energy and Piedmont Electric continue to work to restore power to the area. To see the outage make for Duke Energy, click here; for Piedmont Electric, click here.

Thawing Temperatures On Their Way

RALEIGH – National Weather Service meteorologist Kathleen Carroll says the forecast is clear of frozen precipitation–at least in the near future–and temperatures are projected to be in the 40s Friday.

WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with Carroll on the Friday Morning News.

***Listen to the Interview***

Checking In With Your Community

Duke Energy Spokesperson Megan Musgrave

Chapel Hill Transit Director Brian Litchfield

Orange County Public Affairs Director Carla Banks

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens

Carrboro Police Chief Walter Horton

The Calm Between The Storms, 1 To 3 Inches Of Snow Still To Come

RALEIGH – National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sharp says not to get overconfident during the lull in the storm Thursday morning. More winter weather is on its way.

***Listen to the Interview***

Winter Storm Warning – Until 6:00 p.m. Thursday

Gov. McCrory Addresses Impending Winter Weather

RALEIGH – Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency ahead of this week’s winter storm.

Before the snow and ice reached Orange County, it was already hitting a major part of the state.

***Listen to The Governor’s Remarks***

Woman Killed By Storm in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL – Thursday’s severe thunderstorm claimed the life of 20-year-old UNC student Xuezhou Nan–also known as Julia–of Cary, according to a release by UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.

Orange County Emergency Services Director, Jim Groves says the call came in of a tree down on a person to which Chapel Hill Fire and OC EMS responded.

“She was a 20-year-old female,” Groves says. “She was transported to UNC Emergency Department and later that evening, we received notification that she had passed away.”

In the release from Chancellor Thorp, he says “It is so hard to lose one so young, especially in such a terrible, random and tragic event. I hope that all of you, Julia’s fellow Tar Heels, will keep her family and friends in your thoughts at this sad time.”

Groves says there were several vehicle accidents as a result of the storm but no other events similar to this one.

Roads are still being cleared by the Department of Transportation while power companies are working to restore electricity.

“We’ve still got about 3,000 people without power in the county,” Groves said.

Despite the storm, Groves said that no extra EMS crews had to be called in to respond to emergencies.


From the Office of the Chancellor

Dear Carolina community:

Last night’s storm claimed the life of one of our students, Xuezhou Nan, a 20-year-old senior from Cary. Julia, as she was known, was fatally injured by a falling tree on Franklin Street.

It is so hard to lose one so young, especially in such a terrible, random and tragic event. I hope that all of you, Julia’s fellow Tar Heels, will keep her family and friends in your thoughts at this sad time.

Counseling resources are being made available to the students most immediately affected by her death.  Students who feel they need assistance may call Counseling and Wellness Services at (919) 966-2281 during regular operating hours. Employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program at (877) 314-5841.


Holden Thorp