Residents cleaning up after brief, strong storms rip through Smithfield
Posted August 24
Smithfield, N.C. — Johnston County residents were cleaning up Thursday after strong winds damaged some homes and businesses Wednesday night.
The storm didn’t last long, but it was powerful enough to knock out power and bring down tree limbs.
According to officials with the Town of Smithfield, two main circuits were out of service during the peak of the storm, causing about 1,300 customers to lose power.
By about 2:30 a.m., power had been restored to all but five customers, whose homes sustained damage that will require a private electrician to make repairs before power can be restored by the town.
Several businesses in the town sustained significant structural damage as a result of the strong winds, particularly those in the Brogden Road area. Many buildings had awnings knocked to the ground, windows broken and debris littering the street Thursday morning.
Officials did not have an estimate for how much repairs would cost.
“We had about 15 calls between last night and this morning, so we are trying to jump on them one at a time,” said Kyler Parker with Lane’s Contracting. “We have resources so we're just putting our crews wherever we can to help fix the damage as fast as possible for everybody and keep everybody safe."
As Lane's Contracting employees work to help others clean up, they must also deal with damage to their building.
"Our building has taken a lot of damage to the roof and whatnot, but we've been blessed right here in this area that our building stayed safe and sound compared to the buildings on both sides of us," Parker said.
Mark Paul, owner of Paul Auto Sales, was in his office when the storm first rolled in.
"Just some rain came out and then all of a sudden, the wind, hail and I took cover," he said. "Sounded like a train. Stuff hitting the glass. Sounded like the glass was going to bust out."
Paul said the storm only lasted for about three minutes, but when he went outside he found his back building had lost its roof and back wall.
"I was shocked, amazed and I felt very blessed that it didn't hit me," he said.
Warren’s Auto Sales on Brightleaf Boulevard was destroyed as a result of the storm and residents were working Wednesday night to salvage what they could from the popular business.
"It's kind of devastating watching some of your friend's property really destroyed like this. It's tough," said resident Mike Jernigan. "Try to repair and fix, salvage what we can and I guess go on. I mean, he's a good friend. Anything he needs, I'll be here to help him."
One woman was injured during the storm when a tree fell onto her vehicle on E. Lee Street. The woman was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.