Church, homeowners clean up after windy storm

Posted January 29, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Members of a church and owners of homes and vehicles damaged in a windy Wednesday storm began cleaning up a day later.

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Pastor ‘thankful’ storm damage wasn’t worst Pastor ‘thankful’ storm damage wasn’t worse

The storm roared through the Triangle and northern counties in the early evening, producing wind gusts up to an estimated 60 mph. The National Weather Service received eight reports of high winds and storm damage in North Carolina and southern Virginia.

In Franklinton, straight-line winds ripped off half the roof of the Sunday School building of Franklinton Baptist Church, 102 W. Mason St., around 5 p.m. No one was hurt, but damage was estimated at more than $100,000.

Winds rip off church's roof_01 Winds rip off church's roof

"It's been a hub of this community for many, many years," Pastor David Averette said of the church built in the 1800s. "I was speaking with one of our members this morning, and she says the different threads of her life are woven through this church."

On Thursday morning, Averette surveyed the damage. Dashed air-conditioning units and debris remained scattered all over the sidewalk.

Despite that damage, the pastor said he was thankful – if the storm had struck a couple hours later, about 50 children would have been attending a Bible study in the building.

"That was part of our prayer and our praise that this happened at a time when it affected the least amount of people, and that's part of the things that we have to be thankful for," Averette said.

Up the road from Franklinton Baptist, tree limbs crashed into two cars parked at a daycare. No one was injured.

An old, rotted tree fell into a bedroom belonging to some girls who live at 2818 Exeter Court in Raleigh, family members said. The family was home when the tree fell around 5 p.m. but were downstairs, and no one was injured. They said it felt like an earthquake hit.

A downed tree ripped apart a portion of WRAL viewer's home in Chapel Hill, and another fallen tree totaled a car in a neighborhood off Ridge Road in Raleigh.

Nash County law enforcement said that high winds took down multiple trees along Red Oak-Battleboro Road, north of Dortches. Downed trees were also reported along Wood Duke Road, near Willbanks, and Dickens Road, near Speed, in Edgecombe County.

Radar caught a wind gust of an estimated 60 mph in Gates in eastern North Carolina.


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  • Skywatch_NC Jan 30, 2009

    I agree, Amy could have been a whole lot worse if that squall line had come through during Wed. evening Bible study/prayer meeting time.

    A former church of my folks and I in Roanoke Rapids, NC had it's SS wing destroyed by a lightning fire in July of last year.

    Thankfully like for you and your church ...the church admin offices and sanctuary were spared. And no one was hurt in either case.

  • prayform Jan 30, 2009

    All I have to say is yes, the Lord does work in mysterious ways as he lead my family and I to the Franklinton Baptist Church family, and the members of this church are some of the best people I have met in my entire life. Say what you will as they are strickly opinions. This church has done so much for our family since our 20 month old was diagnosed with Cancer. Maybe this happened to bring the community together, who knows. But I do know that I could not sit here and read your idiotic comments without throwing one in of my own. To those of you who were negative about this happening to a building that has stood on the same ground since the 1800's, you really need something better to occupy your time rather than sitting and making ignorant comments on the net.

  • Skywatch_NC Jan 29, 2009

    haggis basher - always trying to turn a topic into a religion thing.

  • angora2 Jan 29, 2009

    "Pastor ‘thankful’ storm damage wasn’t worst"

    C'mon, WRAL! "Worst" than what?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 29, 2009

    Thanks for the laughs, ptahandatum & haggis basher. :-)

    haggis basher, yeah, it's not the old, virgins-are-war-booty days of the "Numbers 31" chapter, that's for sure. ...but 30K children every day is a LOT!

    And does anyone else wonder why churches have lightning rods?...or, in this case, would need a hurricane-resistant roof?

  • Waterrox Jan 29, 2009

    "They said it felt like an earthquake hit."

    Having lived in Southern California for 18 years, I hardly think a rotted tree hitting a house would feel like an earthquake. Scary and loud? Most likely.

    Unless that tree caused the house to shake for 30 to 60 seconds with a force so violent you can hear the nails squeaking in the walls, while you see your floors move in a sinusoidal fashion and as you watch your chandelier bang from side to side, I doubt it was like an earthquake.

  • haggis basher Jan 29, 2009

    "Why would a deity care an iota about a building when he/it starves 30,000 children to death every day?"
    Its because they have free will! And of course God is calling them home, strange he chooses to do it by having them have short, miserable lifes, but who are we to judge him! He used to sanction genocides like the poor folks in Jericho so may we ought to praise him for becoming a bit more touchy feely.

  • ptahandatum Jan 29, 2009

    Their god is waiting a little bit longer. Then she will smite them royally.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 29, 2009

    Their god clearly wants their Sunday school damaged and out of commission. But why is the pastor whining to US about how this is somehow a bad thing?

    It’s funny how people fool themselves. I saw a news story once where a tornado killed a lady’s child, but spared (mostly) the family bible. She saw it as a sign. Yes, it was a sign that she is delusional. ;-)

    Why would a deity care an iota about a building when he/it starves 30,000 children to death every day?

  • Americanpatriot Jan 29, 2009

    could have been worse.