Local News

Severe Weather Causes Power Outage

Posted August 13, 1999

— With the exception of about 600 homes scattered across the Triangle, electricity is back on. Saturday's severe weather knocked out power for many people; at one point CP&L and Duke were trying to restore power to about 25,000 customers.

No fatalities were reported from the mix of heavy rains, thunder and lightning. Trees and homes seemed to be the main casualties.

Around 3 p.m. a lightning bolt slammed into a tree on Miami Boulevard in Durham. The tree split in half and came crashing down on power lines.

Durham police set up a roadblock to keep people at a safe distance. Duke power crews were called in to cut the tree down. Karen Autry saw the lightning strike.

"It was bigger than anything I had ever experienced," she said. "The light that went with it was so intense, more when it hit the power lines than it did when it hit the tree. The tree was the racket that shook the Earth, but the one that hit the lines lit everything up at the same time with a zap. It was wild."

Power outages were caused by wind, fallen trees and lightning.

Lightning seemed to be doing most of the damage. In South Raleigh, a bolt hit a mobile home on Poole Road. Flames engulfed the home, destroying it. Fortunately no one was home at the time.

A huge home on Allenby Road in North Raleigh also fell to fire. Fire investigators say there is a good chance it too was struck by lightning. The $800,000 home -- nearly 7,000 square feet -- was destroyed. Crews were called in from all over the area to help battle the blaze, to no avail.

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