Storms soak North Carolina and threaten river flooding

People in North Carolina were paying attention to rising rivers on Tuesday after storms dumped several inches of rain across much of the state — the worst drenching since a damaging hurricane late last year.

The state's heaviest rainfall since Hurricane Matthew was threatening flooding along the Neuse River near Clayton and Smithfield, and along the Tar River in Tarboro and Greenville. Gauges in those areas indicate the rivers will crest above flood stage, but several feet below the levels caused by Matthew.

"We know floodwaters can be deadly and I urge everyone to be cautious and stay safe," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release.

The National Weather Service said more than 8 inches had fallen in areas near Raleigh by Tuesday morning. Other areas in central North Carolina received between 5 and 7 inches.

The sun was out by early afternoon in Raleigh, and radar images indicated the storms had largely passed through the state. Still, flood warnings remained in effect.

Duke Energy reported that about 2,000 customers were without power in North and South Carolina as of Tuesday afternoon.

Transportation officials reported more than 100 road closures around the state Tuesday, but some were reopening in the afternoon.

The rains that pelted the state starting on Sunday prompted firefighters to rescue some people from their vehicles, but there didn't appear to be reports of serious injuries or deaths. The governor's office didn't immediately return a message asking whether state officials knew of anyone hurt or killed by the weather.

A creek overflowed its banks and flooded streets and parking lots near Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, but the waterway was beginning to recede later in the day. The mall was closed in the morning, but some department stores or restaurants planned to open later.

In Cabarrus County near Charlotte, a home was seriously damaged when a large tree fell on it Monday during heavy rains. No one was hurt. Diane Davis, who was home with her husband at the time, told WBTV : "I heard a crack and then a noise that went 'bam,' but didn't seem that loud, then all of a sudden, the ceiling and ceiling tiles and insulation was falling all around me."