Residents recover from severe weather

Posted July 23, 2008 4:54 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2008 6:37 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina residents on Wednesday dealt with the aftermath of severe overnight weather that toppled trees, downed power lines and brought damaging lightning.

The slow moving storms produced a large amount of lightning and hail Tuesday night, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

A large oak tree hit a house, located at 2678 Boyle Road in Hoke County, ripping off its backside roof, toppling bricks and crushing cars. Four people were trapped inside the home. Emergency officials said the people were trapped for two hours before one of them broke free of the rubble and called 911. Rescuers used chainsaws and air bags to free them. They were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

A similar incident happened in Cumberland County just off N.C. 24 near I-95 in the Vander area. A large sweet gum tree sliced through a Rivanna Drive home, just east of Fayetteville. The tree came to rest beside the bed where Tanisha Kelly, 11, was lying. She said the debris that fell on top of her was “heavy.”

Tanisha said she was in her parents’ room when everything came crashing down on her. She said it felt like a “car wreck.”

Tanisha’s father, James Kelly, described the incident as a “big boom.”

No one in the Kelly family was hurt in the incident.

The American Red Cross has put the Kelly family in a hotel for the next three nights.

In Johnston County, a vacant house in the Buffalo Creek subdivision of Zebulon caught fire after it was hit by lightning. Nearby, another home on Amsterdam Drive was also damaged when it was struck by lightning.

“You can question it all day long, but you just have to thank the Lord we weren’t home and the family is safe. It is a material possession and can be replaced,” homeowner Trent Sherrill said.

Four of the family’s cats were rescued by firefighters. There were no injuries.

There were also reports of fallen trees and downed power lines across Johnston County.