Local News

Triangle Recovers After Taste Of Severe Weather

Posted January 14, 2005

— High winds and heavy rain moved through central North Carolina Friday morning, leaving one person dead, spawning a tornado and knocking out power.

High winds ripped the side off of a house in Orange County on St. Mary's Road, but did not injure anyone inside. A storm survey conducted by the National Weather Service said a tornado did strike that area.

"I was asleep in bed ... I heard a very loud noise. I jumped up and thought the front door had been blown open," said Beth Sneed, who was able to escape with her dog, Baxter. "When I turned the light on, the whole side of the wall had disappeared."

High winds tore through a horse farm and salvage yard on Highway 264 East in Wilson County, ripping the roof off several storage trailers. A garage filled with tools and equipment was also destroyed. Insulation and large pieces of a broken fence are scattered in the field, but no one was hurt.

Although the worst of the storm hit before the heavy rush of commuters hit the road in the Triangle, nearly 200 accidents were reported on streets. One person was killed in a wreck in Durham near Stadium Drive and Ashley Street about 6:40 a.m. when a car hit a power pole.

Police said Jerry Louis Morris was driving a 1998 Ford Escort traveling east on Stadium Drive at a high rate of speed during the storm when he lost control and spun off the left side of the road, striking a utility pole.  The impact, which was centered at the driver's door, killed Morris, police said.

That wreck downed power lines and closed Stadium Drive.

During rush hour, high water was reported on the outer loop portion of the beltline in Raleigh from Glenwood Avenue to Western Boulevard. Four cars were involved in one wreck in that area.

About a dozen flights were delayed at RDU International Airport, but none of the flights were cancelled.

The high winds knocked out power for more than 3,000 in the Triangle at the height of the storm, with many outages reported near Glenwood Avenue and Creedmoor Road area near Crabtree Valley Mall, Progress Energy reported. Nearly all power in the Triangle has been restored, according to Duke Power and Progress Energy.

A tornado watch that was in effect across much of central North Carolina until 11 a.m. has expired. A tornado warning was briefly issued for northern Wake County and Warren County earlier Friday morning.

The weather system, which brings cold weather behind it, spanned from the Virginia border to the South Carolina line, cutting a sharp line of storms through the state. The heaviest parts of the storm were centered on areas north of Harnett County.

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