NWS: Damage caused by 'impressive' winds, not tornado
Posted January 12, 2014
Updated January 13, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — The National Weather Service said Sunday that significant wind damage from a line of powerful storms that rolled through central North Carolina on Saturday was not the result of a tornado.
Preliminary results from a storm survey from the area between Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Franklinton "conclude that all of the damage occurred from impressive straight line winds," the NWS said in a statement. "There were numerous locations where damage occurred, and in one particular location, over 100 trees were blown down in a classic straight line wind pattern."
A final assessment of the storm damage is expected later this week.
The wind is to blame for the death of Cheryl Harrison, 50, of Raleigh, who was walking with her husband and son on Abbotts Creek Trail Saturday afternoon when a large tree limb broke and fell onto the family.
Trees across the area were uprooted and homes and buildings across Wake County, including Brier Creek, where condos under construction, were ripped from the ground by gusty winds.
At the peak of the storms, 46,000 Duke Energy Progress customers were without power. More than 1,300 in Wake, Chatham, Franklin and Lee counties remained without power Sunday afternoon.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport unofficially picked up the second-strongest wind gust ever recorded at 86.3 mph, according to the NWS.
The previous record was set back in 1954 when Hurricane Hazel produced wind gusts recorded at 90 mph.
Sunday’s weather was much calmer with sunshine and temperatures in the mid-50s. Clouds will roll into the area on Monday, and rain is possible for Tuesday.