Local News

Weather improves but many still without power

Posted January 11
Updated January 13

— More than 2,100 customers in Wake, Chatham, Franklin and Lee counties remain without power Sunday morning after powerful storms rolled through central North Carolina on Saturday, causing power outages, significant wind damage and the death of one person.

Cheryl Harrison, 50, of Raleigh, was walking with her husband and son on Abbotts Creek Trail near Dunn Road when the wind caused a large tree limb to break and fall onto the family. Harrison died from her injuries at WakeMed. Her husband and son suffered minor injuries.

At the peak of the storms, Duke Energy Progress reported about 46,000 people without power across the central part of the state.

Sunday’s weather is expected to be much different.

“It looks like as we go through the day we’ll see nothing but sunshine across central North Carolina,” WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said.

Temperatures are expected to reach 56 degrees with sunny skies. Monday's weather is expected to be the same as clouds roll into the area. Rain is possible for Tuesday.

Straight-line winds uprooted trees and damaged homes and outbuildings across Wake County on Saturday. Trees fell across Glenwood Avenue near the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, blocking all lanes of traffic. Condos under construction were ripped down by gusty winds on Bruckhaus Street in Brier Creek.

The Raleigh area has a roughly .05 percent chance of seeing a tornado this time of year, according to Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Services' Storm Prediction Center.

Residents in Wake Forest were asked to avoid North Main Street and West Juniper Avenue Saturday afternoon as crews worked to remove downed trees and power lines. Areas of N.C. 98 near Old Keith Road were also closed while emergency crews and neighbors worked to cut back uprooted trees and clean up yards.

Danny Clark said his shed was lifted and ripped apart due to the strong winds.

"You could hear the whole house shaking. Everything shook. All the trees came down...thank God everyone in the neighborhood is okay," Clark said.

Authorities reported a funnel cloud near Youngsville in Franklin County on N.C. 96 near U.S. 1 and a second funnel cloud in Chatham County on U.S.15-501 at the Haw River Bridge. The National Weather Service had not officially identified any of the reports as a tornado.

In Moore County, the fast-moving thunderstorms caused damage from Aberdeen to Carthage. Trees knocked out power to parts of the Forest Hills community and some neighborhood roads were closed.

In Apex, several homes on Brighton Ridge Drive were damaged by fallen trees.  

"Suddenly I hear what literally sounded like a train coming," said Christina Woodruff, who lives in Apex. "I called my husband and I said David, what was that?"

Woodruff said her family was able to take shelter before the storms hit, but estimated that 20 pine trees were blown down around the home. 

Raleigh-Durham International Airport unofficially picked up the strongest wind gust ever recorded at 86.3 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The last record was set back in 2004 with gusts recorded at 79 mph.

As the front marched across the Triangle, the threat for severe weather diminished.

By 4 p.m. the threat for the Triangle area was over, WRAL Meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said.

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