Wayne County was spared the worst of the torrential rains that fell over the weekend washing out roads and causing flash flooding in other areas of central North Carolina.
Gov. Roy Cooper called on residents, particularly in the western part of the state to remain vigilant about possible flooding.
Localized street flooding occurred and state Department of Transportation crews were called to remove two downed trees.
One was on Camp Jubilee Road at Seven Springs near the Duplin County line and the other was on the shoulder of Country Club Road at Mount Olive where it was blocking a traffic lane.
Central North Carolina remains under a hazardous weather outlook as rainy conditions are forecast to continue through most of the week.
Locally heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms through last night still may produce some minor flooding, mainly in urban and low-lying areas. The threat of rain continues through Thursday morning.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, the Neuse River was at 10.25 feet. It is forecast to crest at 12.7 feet by midnight on Wednesday.
The flood stage is 18 feet.
Transportation officials urge drivers to never drive around barricades, even if the road appears clear. Flooding can cause washouts underneath the roadway, and DOT crews will not open a closed road until it has been inspected for safety.
Major road closures due to damaged and flooded roads include U.S. 321 in Catawba County, U.S. 401 in Franklin County and North Caroline routes 96, 97 and 98 in Wake County. DOT crews are working to quickly to assess damages and repair roads in the damaged areas.
Emergency officials urge caution and the following safety tips:
• Move to higher ground when flash flood warnings are issued. Don’t wait for instructions.
• Never drive into flooded areas or across flooded roads. If you cannot see the road, it may not be there.
• Do not walk through moving water. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult.
• Follow detours and obey traffic barricades that close off roads.
• Never park or camp along streams, rivers or creeks.
“We really didn’t have much of anything (Sunday),” said Luther Thompson, Wayne County DOT maintenance supervisor. “We had heavy rains here and there throughout the county, but I think we have had like two trees down.
“That was it. We didn’t have any issues, I think, with high water crossing the road or anything like that. It came in so heavy all at one time that the road ditches may have filled up.”
As soon as the rain ended, the runoff was gone, he said.
The rain came at a critical time for the county’s crops, but it is time for it to end so that farmers can return to the fields, said Kevin Johnson, Wayne County Extension Service director.
“We needed rain,” Johnson said. “We were getting really dry. It was especially dry over in the eastern end of the county. Now, we have had about all that we need. We wouldn’t have turned this away. The crops look a lot better now. It was getting critical.
“We need rain, but we also need for it to go on out so we can get back out into the field. We will have to spray. I know we still have soybeans to plant and a little bit of wheat to still pick. So, there is still some field work that needs to be done.
“They are still setting sweet potatoes. That is a big deal right now.”
It is all just the price of farming, and farmers have to take the rain whenever they can get it, he said.
Johnson said he has talked with farmers who reported rainfall amounts of anywhere between 1 and 4 inches.
“That is good rain, but we don’t have to have much more — at least for a while anyway,” he said.
More showers are expected before 2 p.m. today with skies then gradually becoming mostly sunny with a high near 79 degrees, with wind gusts as high as 24 mph, according to the National Weather Service. A slight chance of showers exist after 2 a.m. with a low of around 61 degrees.
A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms is forecast for Wednesday, then showers are likely with possibly a thunderstorm after 8 a.m. The high will be around 76 degrees. New rainfall amounts of between a tenth and quarter of an inch are possible with higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Showers are likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 2 a.m. Thursday, then a chance of showers before turning cloudy, with a low around 67 degrees. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch are possible.
Thursday’s forecast includes a chance of showers before 8 a.m. then becoming mostly cloudy with a high near 84 degrees and an overnight a low around 64 degrees.
Friday and Saturday will be mostly sunny with a high near 83 degrees on Friday and 87 degrees on Saturday.
For more information on the Neuse River and rivers across the country, visit https://water.weather.gov.
For the latest flooding information, download the ReadyNC mobile app and check the flood gauges nearest you at fiman.nc.gov. For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow @NCDOT on Twitter.