Triangle Comes Through Storms Wet, but Mostly Unscathed
Posted March 5, 2008 12:46 a.m. EST
Updated March 5, 2008 6:22 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The Triangle and counties to the west breathed a sigh of relief early Wednesday as a pounding system of thunderstorms and high winds made for the coast, residents began to clean up downed limbs, and power crews tried to rewire thousands of customers whom the storms put in the dark.
A tornado watch issued Tuesday afternoon expired at midnight for central North Carolina, though forecasters said it would stay in effect until 2 a.m. in a few eastern counties as the storms moved through.
At 12:48 a.m., the National Weather Service's Doppler radar indicated a tornado near Jamesville in Martin County, or about 11 miles southwest of Plymouth.
There were widespread reports of downed trees throughout the Triangle and surrounding counties. Some struck houses as they came down, but authorities reported no injuries. A tree struck a house on Vickie Drive in Cary, and another hit a house on West Stallings Street in Clayton.
Several stations reported that winds were near 60 mph when the strongest storm cells went through.
The storms brought drenching rains to many locations, including RDU International Airport, which was good news for the state's drought.The weather caused five to 10 flight delays at the airport, officials said, but operations were expected to catch up after the storms abated.
In counties to the west, where the storms passed through earlier, numerous reports of wind damage were starting to come in, WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said. A tree was reported downed on a house at Richardson Avenue near Rembrandt Road in Cumberland County.
Duke Energy reported 45,000 customers were without power. Progress Energy reported 4,300 customers affected in Wake County, about 1,600 affected in North Raleigh and another 1,267 in Chatham County near Fearrington.
RDU rain gauges measured 1.92 inches through 11:30 p.m., and wind gusts topping out at 48 mph.
The first round of storms blew through during the evening rush hour, bringing reports of wind damage and hail in Orange and Guilford counties. The National Weather Service reported three trees downed north of N.C. Highway 157 near Caldwell.
The storms were kicked up by a cold front that was expected to drop temperatures into the upper 40s overnight.
Midday temperatures will climb into the mid 60s Wednesday and Thursday before another chance of rain comes on Friday.