Wednesday storms leave thousands without power in Wake, Durham

Posted June 29, 2016 6:59 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:04 p.m. EDT

— Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in several counties Wednesday evening and rain will remain in the forecast through the holiday weekend.

Most of the severe activity had moved south and east of the Triangle by about 11 p.m., but wet weather was expected to continue overnight.

"We're simply looking at good old fashioned North Carolina storms and thunderstorms that will continue to diminish during the overnight hours," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

At 11 p.m., 4,249 power outages were reported in Durham County, 6,342 were reported in Wake County and 1,391 were reported in Harnett County.

Authorities estimated that power would be restored to all Wake County customers by 11:45 p.m. but could not provide an estimated restoration time for Durham customers.

Significant damage, including downed trees and power lines, was reported in Durham along Holloway Street between U.S. Highway 70 and Hardee Street.

At the intersection of Liberty Street and Herbert Street in Durham, trees were uprooted and several others were snapped in half. There were no reports of trees falling on vehicles or homes in the area.

Resident Ahtziri Vargas said she was outside planting rose bushes when the weather took a change.

"We see all this wind flying by, then we look at our backyard. Our furniture is flying away," she said.

Looking at radar images in downtown Durham from the time of the most severe weather, Fishel says he believes the severe weather that caused the damage was a downburst, and not a tornado as some residents believed.

Guests at a Twenty One Pilots concert at the Red Hat Amphitheater were forced to evacuate for an hour at about 8 p.m. due to weather.

Storms earlier moved through other counties, resulting in about 1,000 power outages in Granville County, according to Duke Progress Energy. Downed trees and power lines were also reported in Oxford.

Tree down near Woodlan Park cemetery

Fishel said the skies are expected to clear Thursday morning but the chance for rain increases again during the afternoon. There is a smaller chance for rain Friday, but the chance for showers and storms to pop up lingers through the Fourth of July.

“Over the July 4th weekend it looks like the chances will be there each afternoon and evening so we’ll simply have to try to play dodgeball with those storms,” Fishel said.