Strong storm crosses NC, but 'we were anticipating worse'

Posted April 5, 2011

— Strong winds and heavy rain moved across the Triangle early Tuesday, leaving downed trees and scattered debris, but the storm has not been as damaging as expected.

"We're breathing a little sigh of relief," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. "We were anticipating worse this morning. Still, it's nothing to shake a stick at."

As much as 2 inches of rain fell per hour as the line of storms moved at 40 to 50 mph across the state.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said a half-inch of rain was recorded at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, while 1.45 inches fell in Fayetteville.

Trees crashed through homes in Garner and Siler City. In Durham, a tree fell on a car.

The roofs of two buildings in downtown Siler City were blown off during the storm, according to the Siler City Fire Department. One of the roofs downed power lines and landed on a vehicle.

More than eight buildings in Siler City reported roof damage, and about five cars were damaged. No injuries were reported.

Terry McInturff, who makes guitars in the North Carolina Arts Incubator in downtown Siler City, said he stepped outside the building at about 8:15 a.m.

'I noticed some low-hanging, gray clouds moving at a rapid rate of speed, went down into the street (and) then – Bam! – I was hit by extreme wind," McInturff said. "I was lifted about a foot off the ground and tossed about 3 to 4 feet to my right."

Siler City storm damage Winds rip roofs off Siler City businesses

As he ran back inside, he said he heard part of the roof tear off.

"I just kept my head down and ran, and I'm delighted to find out I can still run fast," he said with a laugh.

Thousands were left without power from the storms. 

Progress Energy reported 14,500 customers in the state were without power, including 5,700 in Wake County and 1,255 in Chatham County. Power was restored by the end of the day. 

Duke Energy reported 200,000 outages in the Carolinas. The hardest hit areas were in the Triad, Durham and Chapel Hill, company officials said.

The front pushed through the state by lunchtime Tuesday, leaving the rest of the day cloudy and breezy with a high of 64 degrees.

The National Weather Service issued a frost advisory for much of central North Carolina for Tuesday night. Fishel said temperatures would continue to increase as the week goes on, with a high of 68 Wednesday, 75 Thursday and 81 Friday before a front passes through over the weekend.

McInturff said that, once the cleanup is done in Siler City, he thinks the community will be closer than ever.

"It may be a little bit reminder of what a special thing we have going," he said.


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  • lma1973 Apr 6, 2011

    So WRAL went from partly cloudy and 84 yesterday on both Saturday and Sunday to now 71 and sprinkles all weekend? Hmmmm. Weatherscope must have done a 180. Gotta be a real head scratcher for the chief.

  • Sporty Kid Apr 6, 2011

    You know just because you had strong storms in YOUR immediate area doesn't mean there weren't some others... we got it bad. A tree fell on our truck and crushed it and blocked the driveway all day so we couldn't get out. Both of us had to take the day off work to deal with it. In talking to insurance agent, there were many others that got it worse too - houses crushed and such. Those of us that took losses because of this storm think we had a plenty bad storm thankyouverymuch. Oh and the tree that fell on our truck was NOT rotten or dead - green leaves all over it - no way to know that there was a weak spot halfway up it and it just snapped right over in the strong winds we had.

  • newwake Apr 5, 2011

    . Sometimes weather takes senses...and it didn't feel right to be a severe weather event over the night. Winds during the storm were really no higher than they were before the storm.

    hot you're really coming across as a know it all type. Of course everybody is entitled to their opinion but you are pretty forceful with yours. I live in the western part of the state and the winds were up all day...yes. But during the storm they were significantly higher, probably by 30 to 40 mph higher. Trees were snapped, roofs blown off, road signs bent to the ground....not your "typical" windy day. I agree it didnt feel like a severe weather day but I got my answer this morning when it was snowing in Bryson City. There was a HUGE contrast in temps before and after the front and I'm thinking thats what sparked the event.

  • TarHeelBrit Apr 5, 2011

    "Hey! Look how much less pollen there is!"

    YAY!! I'm happy, at least I can step outside without watery eyes and sneezing.

  • for the people Apr 5, 2011

    shadow666. i doubt we are doomed.

    it can be clear to anyone that takes mere seconds to do research that our climate is changing faster than anytime in any history (barring a meteor, or super volcano type event) due to human action, but i doubt doomed. we'll figure it out too late of course but humans still have some time left. we'll be a mere blip on the historical register though the way we are treating the environment.

  • If_I_Was_President Apr 5, 2011

    journey985...or Greg

    Amazing what you can find on the any event, am I really that important to you that you have to continue to rant and rave my name in your comments??? I wasn't going to blast but noticed an update to the story, read through, and noticed you calling me out yet again. Dude, go get a life and get out of mine. Hope you don't act that childish to your "fiancee"!! FYI, you live northwest of me, and the storm were traveling northeast. Being that you live further north, and the northern part of the line was diminshing, then I'd hate for you to have experienced the storm that rolled through my area between would've screamed being your description of what happened in Willow Springs. I've been through many opinion d ork, this wasn't a bad to March 28th, 1984 during our outbreak. I was a child then, but remember how terrifying if was to go through an actual strong severe weather event...this was nothing.

  • Avenger Apr 5, 2011

    Hey! Look how much less pollen there is!

  • ncmickey Apr 5, 2011

    Im in North Durham and we awoke to horisontal curtians, rain blowing in, winds shaking the house, thunder wind lightning and blindingly hard rain. Almost like the world was under water. Lasted about 1/2 hour then just some showers after. Scared the bejesus outta the wife....

  • mjg0208 Apr 5, 2011

    We live right beside NC States Centinial Campus and woke up at 4am to the sound of this crazy storm taking out 2 trees in my small yard. I found my city trashcan which was filled to the brim with heavy garbage sprawed open halfway accross my yard. My lawnchairs i picked up 2 houses down. Everything is a mess out there...

  • Journey985 Apr 5, 2011

    WRAL advised at 10:30pm last night that the "Northeern" part of the storm was starting to fall apart, but the southern portion was still packing a big punch. So, I guess we all know where hot hugger99 lives since in his little world it was not "that bad"....LOL.