Local News

Local Storm Damage Cleanup Continues Through Weekend

Posted May 28, 2006

— Twice in two days, a North Raleigh neighborhood was the target of severe weather. Now, storm victims are spending their weekend cleaning up from the storms.

Thursday night's storms blew down power lines across Interstate 540, shutting the interstate down at Capital Boulevard for about 12 hours. The ripple effect extended to Saturday, when crews closed the road again for repairs for several hours to repair damaged fiber-optic lines. The road reopened late Saturday afternoon.

While utility crews worked on I-540 Saturday, tree cutters buzzed in the Winterpark neighborhood just a few miles away. This damage there was more recent - the result of another strong storm on Friday night.

"(There was) nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever, then (it was) almost like they turned on a light switch," said Winterpark resident Craig Howell.

Howell said that sudden switch brought a gust of wind strong enough to topple one 60-foot tree. The tree was so massive that it fell from one neighbor's yard, across the next-door neighbor's house and almost took out Howell's house, two doors down.

"The intensity of it is surprising to me because it took so many things down with it ... punctured the roof, smashed the deck, tore up the concrete in the neighbor's next door," Howell said.

A nearby jungle gym is now a jumbled mess. The roof and the deck will need major repairs, but no one was hurt.

"It doesn't hold a candle to New Orleans or any of those hurricanes, but for a local event, it's pretty astounding," Howell said.

Estimates put the wind gust that knocked down the tree at about 60 mph. Weather experts said a strong downburst of wind probably caused the damage both nights.

The storm debris is piling up in North Raleigh. Residents and Raleigh Public Works crews spent much of Friday cleaning up from Thursday's storm. Crews also picked up debris on Saturday. They were planning on making a final sweep on Tuesday, but Friday's damage could extend that.


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