Heavy rains and winds swept across Sampson County Monday night and into Tuesday morning, leaving roads and fields covered in water.
The National Weather Service issued thunderstorm warnings Monday night for the area, ending just after daybreak yesterday. According to readings at the N.C. State Research Station on N.C. 403, more than one inch of rain fell in the short period of time.
February is already proving to be a wet month, as the average rainfall in Sampson County for the second month of the year is 2.8 inches. In the hours it rained Monday night and Tuesday morning, Deborah Kennedy, assistant at the Research Station, said a reported 1.29 inches of rain fell.
Treacherous downpours fell across the state earlier in the month, causing flooding in many areas. Students in the Union District of Sampson County Schools operated on a delay of school several mornings last week, as many roads in the southern end of the county were covered in water.
According to Keith Eason, officials with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the excessive rain Monday night didn’t cause road closing in the area, but several high water signs were erected across the county, as water was high on some roadways.
“High water signs have been put up throughout the county,” Eason said Tuesday morning. “You are always going to have areas of high water when that much rain falls in a short period of time, like it did Monday night.”
In the case of the Union District flooding last week, Eason said as the water works it’s way down, water rises and crests, leaving roads flooded in lower-lying areas.
“The southern end of the county, around Ingold and Clear Run, had several roads closed last week because of the flooding,” Eason added.
Eason said as the water receded Tuesday, the department would remove the high water signs, but urged caution to those who were traveling in the area.
“We will pull those signs later today as the water begins to receded, but motorists should still be cautious, as some locations may come back up.”
According to Tina Byrd with the Highway Patrol, the rain caused several minor accidents, but nothing major. Several major accidents were reported Monday, following the wintry mix that swept across the county, leaving roads icy in some patches.
The heavy rains in 2016 are a carbon copy of much of 2015, as December proved to be one of the wettest months on record in Sampson County, as well as for much of the state and nation.
The heavy amounts of rain that have fallen on the fields across the county over the last few months have left many farmers in a difficult situation when getting many of the fall crops from the field and now looking at preparing the fields for the spring harvest.
According to Rodney Mozingo, superintendent at the Research Station, the last four months of 2015 had the highest total rainfall, with approximately six inches of rain falling each month. Throughout that four month span, from September to December, a total of 25.5 inches of rain fell, according to measurements at the station. The last four months of the year a heavy time for farmers who have fall crops.
“We’ve really had too much rain,” Mozingo said when questioned about the total rain for 2015. “It really poured rain many times.”
The total amount of rain that fell in the last quarter of 2015 is more than double that of the year before. According to Mozingo, not even 10 inches of rain fell in the same four-month period in 2014 and approximately 10 inches fell for the same time in 2013.
“On average, Sampson County gets approximately 48 inches of rain in one year,” Mozingo said. “In all, for 2015, there was 61.5 inches of rain that fell over Sampson County. That’s a lot of rain.”
The excessive rainfall causes problems for farmers when preparing the fields for the spring crops. According to Mozingo, many of the farmers are trying to get into their fields and prepare the field for planting for the spring. The rain soaked grounds are hindering farmers from making adequate progress, and Monday’s heavy rains add to the problems.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.