Local News

High Winds Whip Through Wayne County

Posted March 3, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— When the skies finally calmed down Thursday morning, hundreds of people were in the dark.

At the height of the storm, more than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina.

Damage was widespread. One of the hardest hit areas was Wayne County.

Calvin Price and his wife were sitting on the porch of their house when the skies darkened Wednesday night. They went inside to wait out the storm, and when they re-emerged, Price's workshop was destroyed.

Price worked in his workshop every day. Now parts of it are strewn all over the area. Nature's fury twisted metal, uprooted trees, and threw insulation and boards up, then down.

Price spent Thursday morning cleaning up the mess. He believes the damage could only have been done by a tornado.

Their neighbors have damage as well.

"It reminded me of Hurricane Fran," said golf pro Gary Thomas.

Thomas was at the Southern Wayne Country Club when the storm took down 180 trees.

"I was shocked. It was so fast. It came so quick and then was gone. There was a lot of damage," said Thomas.

The damage extended to Duplin County where a mobile home was destroyed. Most people in those parts believe it was the work of a tornado.

Emergency managers from both counties say the damage is widespread. The emergency management director from Wayne County says about 80 buildings were either destroyed or damaged during the storm.

The severe weather claimed one life in North Carolina. A 45-year-old woman was killed near Hendersonville when a tree was blown onto her car.

An Alabama man also died when winds uprooted a tree and slammed it onto his trailer home.