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A Minute's Storm Leaves Goldsboro With Weeks of Work

Posted August 13, 2007
Updated August 18, 2007

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— All of Goldsboro saw storms Friday evening, but the bulk of the damage happened in a small part of town, near U.S. Highway 70 and Wayne Memorial Hospital, where cleanup was under way Monday. By all accounts, it happened in a hurry.

Monday, crews worked to clear the twisted metal and downed trees left by the winds that blew at nearly 100 mph. The buzz of chainsaws, the strong smell of freshly cut pine, and streets covered in wood splinters and pine needles made it clear that this was not the typical summer storm.

According to the National Weather Service, the large-scale downburst brought straight-line winds of at least 80 miles per hour. Emergency calls started coming into the 911 center around 6:20 p.m. Friday reporting damage throughout the city.

People say the storm lasted less than a minute. Officials say it will take weeks to clean up

“I've lived here about 50 years, and I've been through three major hurricanes — and I've never had anything like this to happen,” William Poler said after more than a dozen large trees fell in his yard. One crushed his storage shed, and at least two hit his house.

A large tree crashed on Katrina Lee's roof, too.

The tree came “through the ceiling into our kitchen,” and the house had “water in our kitchen and our bathrooms,” Lee said.

She was driving home when the storm hit, she said.

“We thought it was a tornado, and my car almost turned over when I was driving home,” Lee said.

The Days Inn is believed to be the most heavily damaged structure. It lost its roof. A condemned sign hung on the building Monday, and city officials said they expected it would have to be demolished.

Overall, the city said there are 23 homes with reported tree damage, four of them with major problems. The storm hit four businesses, including the Days Inn, they said.

The lucky part of the storm was that there only seven injuries and the most serious was a broken leg. One person in the motel parking lot narrowly escaped serious injury running from their car into the motel mere seconds before the roof crushed the vehicle.

“We heard like a big boom, boom, boom sound and the transformer blew the lights went out, said Stephanie Whaley, who was working behind the check-in desk when wind ripped off the roof of the Days Inn.

The staff scrambled to rush nearly 100 guests out of the building.


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  • uncwgirl02 Aug 15, 2007

    "definatively?" I guess spelling wasn't a part of your education.

  • momrus Aug 14, 2007

    The Days Inn which lost their roof- their sign which can be seen on Hwy. 70 lost the letters D A Y which now spells SINN.

  • farleyfarleyfarleyhaffar Aug 14, 2007

    It was fast - it hit out of nowhere and after about 30 seconds the wind was over - just lots of rain after that. Everything was blown in the same direction, so I think it was a micro-burst. Doesn't matter, though - still lots to clean up!

  • newbie1 Aug 13, 2007

    i agree with luv2surffish the storm in goldsboro was a high wind storm and yes straight winds can and will snap and uproot trees. had it been a tornado no matter how small it would have shown up on radar!!

  • luv2surffish Aug 13, 2007

    you guys talking tornado.. i say portato.. mico burts.. blowing down..hits ground and runs like hell... mile to what tornado would have done.. no houses hurt but by trees... maybe few shingles torn off.. fran did lots more..but in longer time span

  • Love my boys Aug 13, 2007

    It's over. Doesn't matter what it was. Be thankful that the only serious injury was a broken leg. Be thankful that lives weren't lost. Be thankful that everything can be fixed/rebuilt. Be thankful it wasn't your home, business or family members that were affected by this storm.

  • tarheel22 Aug 13, 2007

    I'm not a meteorologist, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express!!

  • Worland Aug 13, 2007

    Out West, we call these micro-bursts. They are not tornados but cause quite a bit of damage.

    Every time the winds knocks something down, everyone here starts calling it a tornado. If there had been a tornado, it would have shown up on radar.

    When it comes to foul weather, T-Storms and hail, NC is blessed with rather mild storms. In 9 years in NC, I have not experienced any T-Storm or hail storm in NC that came close to what you get out in the mid & south-west. We really have it lucky here.

  • hamsterdad Aug 13, 2007

    No, I live near RDU. And there is no need to bow down before me, folks should know a little bit more about the subjects that they so definatively speak about... "Straight line winds my Aunt Fannie!! This was a small tornado." or 'if it was in Raleigh it would have been a tornado"

    I don't know what profession you are in uncwgirl06, but I wouldn't act like I know more about it.

  • hamsterdad Aug 13, 2007

    Yes, NC State, BS in Meteorology.