Flash flood warning in effect for Triangle, thousands without power

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We could see a little bit of everything on Monday — heavy rain, severe weather and even a little snow. The greatest threat will be heavy rain and flash flooding.

What to know

  • Orange and Chapel-Hill Carrboro schools have canceled classes Monday. There will be no remote learning. See all closings and delays.
  • The Triangle is under a flash flood warning until 7:45 a.m. as heavy rain falls in the area. See all warnings.
  • The biggest threat on Monday will be flash flooding on roads before noon.
  • Wind gusts up to 45 to 50 mph are possible through mid-afternoon, and trees could fall as a result.
  • Snow is most likely north of Durham before noon. It has the potential to stick to elevated surfaces, especially in N.C. counties along the Virginia line.

At 6 a.m., thousands of customers were without power across the Triangle. An estimated 8,000 customers in Orange County, 4,000 in Wake County and 2,000 in Durham County were without power as sheets of rain and heavy winds moved across the area.

Flooding the greatest risk

Heavy rain and flooding will the biggest threat for everyone, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. The entire viewing area is at risk for flooding, and a flash flood warning is in effect for the Triangle until 7:45 a.m., which includes Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Lee, Orange, and Wake counties.

A flood watch is in effect until 10 a.m. for the entire viewing area.

“We’re seeing a rapidly changing situation,” Gardner said. “But the biggest thing you need to know today is that we’re going to see a lot of rain. The big thing is going to be watching the roads for how much water will be on them.”

Flood watch

Flash flooding will be possible during the morning commute and throughout the first half of the day, so drivers should pay careful attention. Around 2 to 3 inches of rain could fall before noon.

With the rain could come severe storms, particularly southeast of the Triangle.

According to WRAL meteorologist Peta Sheerwood, the chance for severe weather is greatest before 8 a.m., with the biggest threat being strong storms and gusty winds, which could work with the saturated ground to bring down trees.

An isolated tornado is not out of the question, Gardner said, but it is by no means the biggest threat.

Winds could gust as high as 45 mph across the viewing area at times.

The severe weather threat should end in the early to mid-afternoon.

What about snow?

The final and most exciting weather event meteorologists are tracking Monday is snow, and the farther north you live, the more likely you are to see it.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for three counties: Person, Granville and Mecklenburg, Va., where between 1 and 2 inches of snow could fall, primarily sticking to grassy and elevated surfaces like bridges.

Where snow is most likely

Rain could change over to snow in those northern counties close to the Virginia line around 7 a.m. and in Raleigh by 10 a.m. In the Triangle, temperatures won’t be cold enough, so the snow will have a lot of trouble sticking, Sheerwood said, adding that it will mainly be something beautiful to look at.

“Around here, we struggle to see the cold air keep up with the precipitation,” Gardner said. “Even if we do change over to snow as far south as the Triangle area, none of that is going to cause problems on the road. The areas we could see [light accumulation] are north of Durham, where the snow would fall for longer and have the potential to overcome the warm ground by piling up faster.”

Temperatures, which were in the upper 50s at 4 a.m., will drop throughout the day, into the upper 30s and low 40s by the late morning and all afternoon. The wind chill that will be accompanying those cold temperatures will be bitter.

Flood watch

By 6 a.m., Roxboro could be at 31 degrees, and Durham could be at 36 degrees.

Orange County Schools is closing all buildings and programs Monday due to the threat for severe weather. There will be no in-person instruction or remote learning.