Possible tornadoes, storms hammer eastern NC

Posted August 29, 2011
Updated August 30, 2011

— Two possible tornadoes and severe thunderstorms pummeled central and eastern North Carolina Monday evening, a devastating blow to communities still recovering from Hurricane Irene.

The National Weather Service radar indicated a tornado that moved through the Sharpsburg, Rocky Mount and Pinetops communities in Edgecombe County Monday evening.

WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said he can't confirm whether a tornado touched ground, but said the radar indicated cloud rotation, a lot of cloud-to-ground lightning, heavy rain and large hail in Edgecombe County.

Earlier Monday, radar also indicated a tornado in rural Tyrrell County near Kilkenny.

The entire town of Pinetops lost power in the evening storms, affecting about 600 households, police said. Power lost during Hurricane Irene in that area had just been restored throughout Sunday night and Monday morning.

Most people got power back quickly, officials said.

Flash flooding impacted several areas of Rocky Mount, especially along Kingston and Sunset avenues. Cars stuck in high water had to be pushed out, officials said. The city also got pelted with nickel-sized hail.

A house fire behind the Harris Teeter on Sunset Avenue is believed to be a storm-related, but authorities are still investigating its cause.

In nearby Nash County, officials said storms whipped the area with blinding rain that appeared to be moving sideways, but there was no indication of funnel clouds forming.

Chatham County also got blasted by powerful winds, rain and hail. A large tree crashed through a Pittsboro home on Johnny Burke Road, where the owners, Mark and Carol Hewitt, run a pottery business out of a cabin on the property.

"The little cabin we were in, it felt like it lifted up, and then we came back down," Carol Hewitt said. "There's a huge tree, and the roots are actually under that cabin, so when that tree came up and landed on its side, it probably did lift the cabin."

In Fuquay-Varina, lightning struck the roof of a house at 911 Minerva Drive, damaging its bonus room and garage. There was smoke damage on the second floor and water damage on the first. A family was inside the home at the time, but got out safely. Two firefighters, however, were hospitalized with minor injuries.

The storm downed a utility pole and tree along Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. The road was closed between Lynn and Jeffrey's Grove School roads during the Tuesday morning rush hour while Progress Energy crews made repairs. One northbound lane remained closed around 9 a.m.

Raleigh got a record rainfall of 1.36 inches from Monday's storms.


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  • sunshine1040 Aug 30, 2011

    The weathermen are a lot like Drs they make educated guesses about what will happen. But no one knows what mother nature has in store untill it happens. And i saw the same weather forcast on ch 11 about the hurricane happenings

  • razor2 Aug 30, 2011

    Got a problem let 5 on your side settle it and quit the darn
    arguing . Ask Monica to explain all this to you

  • Shamrock Aug 30, 2011

    "it matter if people have other screen names, maybe they feel they have to because certain people gang up on them, it's a free world you know and they don't need to be called out on it"
    so you dont like my opinion ok

    Stupid to have all these screen names and if people are ganging up, maybe you deserve it. Some have more than a few names. Stick behind what you say and be willing to take the wrath, especially when making ignorant statements just to get people mad, because it is time 2 b real. There is no colossal drought, there is no $5 gas, it is all delusional thinking. Yeah it is a free world and that is why they may get called out.

  • ebeamer7472 Aug 30, 2011

    CWOOD3 Well said. I couldn't agree with you more. Plus WRAL has two on air stations, one of which will carry the regular program as a rule. And yes, the NWS issues the severe weather alerts. However, WRAL caught the potential tornadic activity last night.

  • cwood3 Aug 30, 2011

    Employeenc-think about what you said that Greg had said-the warning had ended!! Last time I checked, the NAtional Weather Service-not WRAL-issues severe weather alerts. If you have a beef, it's with the National Weather Service-not WRAL.

    All of you naysayers are not talking about how WRAL nailed Irene and what a great job they did covering the storm-none of you naysayers. Yea-I know some are angry nationally about the NY City predictions. However, had they predicted less-and had more-they'd have been nailed too. Can't win for loosing.

    For those of you unhappy with WRAL Weather-go to channel 17(7 on cable). They're awful!! WTVD-11 is ok-but WRAL is the best-and most watched!!

  • DaisyMae Aug 30, 2011

    well said ebeamer7472.

  • so you dont like my opinion ok Aug 30, 2011

    People, if you don't want to see the coverage on WRAL, turn the channel.

    I should have turned the channel,seems like WRAL was on top of things.

  • so you dont like my opinion ok Aug 30, 2011

    I agree terrible job of forecasting, I was watching channel 14 TWC and I heard them say that there is a 0.2 chance of a tornado, and I listened to the forecasters say that it is just a severe thunder storm and they really doubted that there would be any tornadoes, how can they be so off? Seankelly why are you so rude, what does it matter if people have other screen names, maybe they feel they have to because certain people gang up on them, it's a free world you know and they don't need to be called out on it, and no I don't have another one, only this one.

  • shortcake53 Aug 30, 2011

    I imagine a few posters are a little heavier after having to eat their words after the storm. Seems like we cant catch a break weather-wise lately. Hoping all who were affected by the storms are on their way to recovering, we had a few problems but still came out of it very lucky. Best of luck.

  • shellsun66 Aug 30, 2011

    I agree with you employeenc!!!