Local News

Jeanne Spawns Strong Storms, Possible Tornadoes in Wake, Moore Counties

Posted September 28, 2004 9:02 a.m. EDT

— More than 100 buildings in Southern Pines were damaged Monday night as severe weather spawned by the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne spun into North Carolina.

Strong winds peeled off parts of roofs and walls. A local car salesman says he saw about 20 or 30 vehicles damaged, with some of them completely crushed. He says the roofs of some buildings flew off, and a cinderblock wall behind the car dealership collapsed.

At least six possible tornadoes were reported Monday as the outer edges of the weakening storm crept northward.

The National Weather Service says an apparent tornado in Fuquay-Varina in southern Wake County damaged four mobile homes and destroyed a shed. A confirmed tornado toppled trees onto a car and a house just south of Durham this morning.

No damage was immediately reported from another possible tornado in northeastern Richmond County. Possible tornadoes were also reported in Cleveland, Forsyth, Lenoir, and Rutherford counties.

In Moore County, the high winds reportedly flipped cars and toppled trees and power lines starting about 5:40 p.m., according to the sheriff's department.

The good news: No injuries have been reported.

Duke Power reports a limited amount of power outages caused by the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne in North Carolina and South Carolina.

At 5 a.m. there were 6,400 outages in Duke Power's service territory.

The Charlotte-based utility says the center of the storm should exit the Duke service area by late afternoon. The utility says that as the system continues moving through the state, more customers may experience power outages.

In addition, Duke Power says it will continue to lower lake levels by moving water out of the Catawba River Basin.

There were 21,100 outages at one point during the storm. Of those who are still in the dark, 2,000 are in North Carolina and 4,400 are in South Carolina.

On Monday, Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of emergency for North Carolina as the remnants of Jeanne approached.

"Jeanne marks North Carolina's seventh tropical system this season and our citizens once again need to be prepared and ready to take quick action if needed," Easley said. "Do not drive on flooded roads and those who live in flood-prone areas should be prepared to evacuate. Everyone needs to be mindful of possible tornadoes.

"Much of our mountains are still saturated from recent rainfall and the chance of landslides remain a major concern. People need to pay close attention to weather forecasts and follow evacuation orders from local emergency management officials," he said.

Easley also activated the State Emergency Response Team on Monday. Twenty-two swift water rescue teams are on alert as well as 11 urban search-and-rescue teams.

Areas west of Asheville braced for the chance of more flooding even as they worked to recover from deadly deluges caused by the remnants of hurricanes Frances and Ivan earlier this month.

"People need to know that we've had two storms and a third one is on the way," said Tim Miller, western coordinator for the state Office of Emergency Management in Hickory. "If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, the best thing to do is to get out.

"And keep in mind that mud slides can occur and you need to stay sway from moving water."

Even though winds are not predicted to be as strong in western North Carolina as they were during Ivan, the fact that the soil is saturated means large trees could topple under less windy conditions, Miller said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami warned Monday that isolated tornadoes were possible in North Carolina as the storm moved through.

The remnants of Frances and Ivan each spawned about 40 tornadoes in North Carolina and South Carolina, National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Krentz said. The twisters packed winds of up to 120 mph that tore up trees, flipped cars and damaged homes.