Heat-driven storms trigger flash floods, damaging winds

Posted June 25, 2013

— Heavy, heat-driven thunderstorms moved through counties south of the Triangle Tuesday afternoon, producing flash floods and damaging wind gusts, particularly in parts of Clayton and Sanford.

Downed trees, limbs and power lines knocked out power to more than 2,000 people in Lee County, according to Duke Energy Progress. A few hundred customers also lost power in Cumberland, Hoke, Johnston, Moore and Sampson counties as the storms swept through the area.

A line of thunderstorms hit Sanford and Fayetteville in the 3 o'clock hour, bringing winds gusts of up to 40 mph, some hail and heavy, localized downpours.

A large uprooted tree crashed through the roof of a home on Spring Lane in Sanford, authorities said. A 14-year-old girl who was home at the time said there were so many branches coming through the ceiling that she had to escape by breaking a back window.

"She heard a big crash, and she ran in her room and got in the closet," said Janetta Gary, the teen's mother. "When she got out of the closet, she realized the tree limbs had come through the house."

When Gary got home from work to find her home crushed, all she could think about was her daughter's wellbeing.

"When I saw her over there standing, I just started screaming and holding her, thanking God," she said. "I am just glad my daughter is alive. I don't care two cents about what is in that house right now."

Janetta Gary Teen escapes after tree slams into Sanford home

The girl was not injured, and the Red Cross is helping the family find a place to stay.

In addition to powerful high-speed winds, the storm brought heavy downpours. The rain fell fast enough to reduce visibility and pool in low-lying areas, and the weather service warned drivers to reduce their speed on Interstate 40. 

Trouble spots for downed trees and power lines in Sanford included Carbonton, Franklin and Hayden roads.

About an hour after the storm tore through Sanford, flash flooding and high water flowed through Clayton, especially in the Highway 70 area near downtown, authorities said.

The storms, moving at about 15 mph, cleared central North Carolina by about 7 p.m., said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze.

Tuesday's high temperature reached 90 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport with 55 percent relative humidity. The forecast stays the same through the next week or so with warm afternoons and the chance of storms each day, Maze said.


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  • simplelogic Jun 26, 2013

    I'm so glad the girl wasn't hurt. That must have been terrifying.

  • dh1964 Jun 25, 2013

    I had the same thought, fleetdoctor. That's pretty remarkable.

  • rdc42179 Jun 25, 2013

    Wednesday's high temperature reached 90 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport with 55 percent relative humidity.

    It's Tuesday folks!!

  • delete account Jun 25, 2013

    Now, that is a well-built house!