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Chapel Hill, Durham Try To Absorb Record Rainfall

Several feet of flood waters trap cars on West Franklin St. in Chapel Hill Sunday afternoon.
Bart Smith

Residents of Orange and Durham counties are cleaning up after torrential rain led to flood waters several feet deep. 

Officials in Chapel Hill say rescuers evacuated at least 40 people Sunday from flooded homes and vehicles.  They were taken to a Red Cross shelter at Smith Middle School. 

More than five inches of rain fell in the town, which broke records for a single day of rain.  Some of the worst flooding was in the Camelot Village community, where resident Zach Owens says some people were stranded in their homes.

"It was high enough to where it was coming inside the apartment pretty strong and pushing the AC units out of the walls and inside the apartments," said Owens.

"It's pretty crazy out here."

Resident Wayne Tesh watched as the waters dragged away dumpsters and cars.

"Approaching us now is a rescue team from Chapel Hill.  They apparently have a person in the rescue boat.  They're headed toward this direction.  Right now, we're just going to see what happens after this as it continues to rain," Tesh said Sunday. Forecasters are warning that heavy rain is expected to continue Monday.

Duke Energy Progress says power is back on for most customers who lost it during the storm.  Some secondary roads remain closed as crews clear out downed trees and debris left from the flood waters.  Emergency responders are reminding people to avoid driving through standing water or wading through water that is more than knee-deep.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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