Child Drowns In Rain-Swollen Creek
Posted July 3, 2003 1:40 a.m. EDT
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — A 10-year-old boy drowned Wednesday in a gushing, rain-swollen Holly Springs creek that neighbors said usually is not more than a few inches deep.
Travis Nugent reportedly was playing with a friend when he fell into the water behind Stone Farm Circle and became lodged beneath a pipe, according to Robert Williams, a neighbor who helped pull the boy from the creek.
Williams said Nugent was breathing when he left with paramedics. Nugent died later at WakeMed in Raleigh.
The drowning occurred as heavy rains and tornadoes plagued much of the state Wednesday. Three tornadoes reportedly touched down in Craven County.
"It started tearing everything up," Bernard Gaskin, 84, told The Sun Journal of New Bern. "I heard the wind, and everything just froze."
The winds started about 2:30 p.m., leveling an old wooden barn near his home in Ernul, peeling aluminum panels from his roof and tearing off tree limbs.
The tornado in the Ernul community was one of three to touch down in Craven County, according to Tim Harvey, assistant director of Craven County Emergency Management Services.
No injuries were reported.
Two of the storms, one in the Croatan National Forest and another between Vanceboro and New Bern, uprooted trees but caused no property damage, Harvey said.
What was left of Tropical Depression Bill was moving out to sea over Virginia and Maryland. Although the actual rainfall from the storm wasn't as much as originally predicted, some areas already had too much standing water.
Record rainfall forced Vance County officials to postpone the July 4 celebration at Kerr Lake until August.
In North Carolina's mountains, Lake Toxaway had received 9.15 inches between 7 a.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday, the weather service said. East Flat Rock reported 4.60 inches, and Brevard, 4.08. Tryon had 6.5 inches, while Columbus, located just five miles east, had 4.25 inches.
Still, the rainfall was less than originally forecast. But the weather service warned that rainstorms might track repeatedly over the same areas and cause flooding later.