Local News

Raleigh Storm Victim: 'I'm Blessed to Be Alive'

Posted August 22, 2007
Updated August 23, 2007

— The twists and turns of Tuesday’s storm might have saved Cathy Thomas-Jones' life. She was inside her Sunnybrook Road home when the storm blew in.

“Unlike Fran, I didn't hear anything, other than I felt a little tremble to the house,” she said.

All the large trees near Thomas-Jones’ house stood strong when Hurricane Fran hovered over Raleigh. But the latest storm splintered and uprooted them in less than five minutes.

The largest pine tree landed on her roof. Tree removal crews said the strange twisting motion kept it from crashing through her roof.

“The fact that the tree twisted and bent over the top of the house kind of spared us,” Thomas-Jones said. “Because otherwise, we might have been, you know, killed.”

She lives across from Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, where the storm snapped trees and caused other damage, including part of the roof over the stage area.

The weather canceled Tuesday night's concert. On Wednesday, crews scrambled to clean up and make repairs so shows could go on as scheduled.

Just a few miles down the road, another large tree crashed through Albert Ayers' attic. His wife was in a room just below the point of impact.

“For the damage and for what happened, I'm blessed to be alive and blessed my wife is alive. She's pregnant with my son,” Ayers said. “I'm happy everybody is alright.”


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • haggis basher Aug 23, 2007

    "Thank heaven everyone is OK."

    Why thank a place (mythical or otherwise) for someone not being hurt? I'm glad too that no one got hurt, but fail to see where any thanks are required for a natural event not hurting someone.

  • EagleGirl Aug 23, 2007

    That storm was scary. I live by Walnut Creek also. I ended up with a trampoline on top of my house, two broke windows, a hole in my roof, and my gutters twisted up. I was in the house when is happened and had just walked out of the room where the windows broke. I thank God I was not injured.

  • skypilot-not Aug 23, 2007

    Wow, that must have been some downburst to push that tree straight down like that

  • Groovy Aug 23, 2007

    *blondton13* i was going to post something similiar - thanks. i hate bullys.

  • knelsud92 Aug 23, 2007

    I was at the show in Charlotte last night. Def Leppard's singer made a comment about just how bad the weather was in Raleigh the night before. They were making comments about the heat during every break. About 2 minutes after the bad weather comment, the heat (cloud to cloud) lightning that had been raging all night became cloud to ground, the wind picked up, and it started raining.

    Wife and I didn't stick around. We got to the car pretty quickly (the parking at Verizon makes sense as opposed to Walnut Creek), and as soon as we got in the car, the skies opened up. Not sure if Def Leppard finished as they probably only had 15 more minutes anyway.

  • wakemom Aug 23, 2007

    I see you guys can be comical up here! Everybody knows that once you get off Poole Rd, you have to either take Sunnybrook or what is that Middle Branch to get to Walnut Creek. I live across from the Pavillion and we lost power for 2 hours. Also, there were some people that were injured from debris at the pavillion. Glad noone was badly harmed.

  • blondton13 Aug 23, 2007

    PikeMom: Yep..you're right. I caved.
    Darn it all anyway! :)~

  • PikeMom Aug 23, 2007

    blondton: you are right in it too...rofl

  • blondton13 Aug 23, 2007

    Geez...some of you here attack each other for "being dramatic" or "nosy"?
    I am sure for the people that were in the storm it was a scary thing...who has the right to tell them different?
    And so DonnaB looked up the correct address for the incident since she felt the report was in error...good for her for double-checking the info.
    Man - just want to read a story about a storm and commenters are attacking other commenters...are you people bullied at work so you come here to dish it out to someone else? Does that make you feel better?
    Get a life. And glad everyone came out of this storm okay.

  • maddrummer Aug 23, 2007

    I live close to smithfield road on poole.. didnt really do anything much here. Guess i missed the hardcore stuff barely.