State Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon called it a 1,000-year storm event. He was talking about the 7-and-1/2 inches of rain that flooded US 401, a major commuter artery linking northern Wake and Franklin counties.
Trogdon and other state officials joined Gov. Roy Cooper at a news conference Monday. They warned people of the dangers of inundated roads. Cooper said between 12 and 15 inches of water fell on a stretch of counties in central and western North Carolina.
"I know you have heard this message from me before," Cooper told assembled reporters, "but flooding can be dangerous and deadly."
"There have already been more than 80 swift-water rescues of people across Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and Mecklenburg counties," Cooper added. "Remember, there were at least 10 motor vehicle deaths attributed Hurricane Florence."
Authorities with the Department of Public Safety linked three deaths to the weekend storms. Three people were killed when their car ran into a tree along a rain-swept road in the city of Newton in Lincoln County.
The governor said people and officials must adapt to a new normal in which sudden and severe weather can strike at any time.
Cooper said severe thunderstorms expected Monday afternoon and evening could lead to more mudslides, flash-flooding and downed trees.