Cooler, drier weather ahead
Posted January 7, 2009 5:53 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A cold front passing through the state caused strong winds that knocked down trees, utility lines and caused power outages across the state on Wednesday.
The worst of the weather, including rain and hail, passed through the Triangle early Wednesday evening, WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said.
Thursday will be cooler and drier, with highs in the mid 40s and 50s as a high pressure builds into the region.
Temperatures will remain seasonably cool and calm into the weekend, climbing back into the upper 50s by Saturday afternoon.
By the middle of next week the Triangle could experience the coldest weather since 1985, Maze said.
Strong winds cause damage, outages
On Wednesday, peak wind gusts in Raleigh and Rocky Mount were 44 mph, and Fayetteville saw gusts up to 53 mph, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. In Rocky Mount a wind gust was recorded at 62 mph.
The National Weather Service issued wind advisories throughout the day central and eastern counties, predicting gusts up to 45 mph.
Strong winds were likely to blame for downed utility lines on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh affected a number of traffic signals between the Interstate 440 Beltline and Clarendon Crescent Road, Raleigh police dispatch reported.
Progress Energy said it was also unsure if a downed line at the corner of Gorman Street and Thistledown Drive Wednesday afternoon was a result of the wind.
Traffic signals were out at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Creedmoor Road near Crabtree Valley Mall Wednesday evening. Police were directing traffic.
Police and firefighters also reported several instances of trees down on roads in Chatham, Hoke, Orange and Durham counties.
And in Cary, police say a light pole fell on a car in the parking lot of Trader Joe's on Kildaire Farm Road.
A roof was blown off of a home in the 400 block of Halifax Street in Enfield, officials said.
In Cumberland County, trees fell on a house and another building, officials said. Damage was also reported at Northgate Shopping Center. A blown transformer at Lynn Avenue and Ramsey Street caused a power outage at the shopping center.
A few miles away, another transformer blew. A woman suffered minor injuries during the incident, officials said.
Also in Fayetteville, a tree landed on the roof of a home on Harbison Court, off of Andrews Road.
Progress Energy reported more than 5,500 customers in Wake County were without power Wednesday night. Franklin and Moore counties reported 2,200 customers each without power late Wednesday.
Duke Power reported just over 120 outages in Orange County late Wednesday.
Damage elsewhere throughout the Triangle area and other parts of the state include trees down on two cars in Warren Count, where a straight-line wind took out 12 to 15 trees at a house on Lake Gaston.
Fire Marshal Chris Wright said the winds temporarily knocked out power to about 20 to 30 houses in the neighborhood.
Dana Mitchell, the house's owner, said there was also some damage to the chimney and to the side of the house. No one was home at the time, and there were no reports of injuries.
In Nash County, trees were down at Old White Oak Road, Old Country Home Road, Stoney Hill Church Road, Hoyt Road, N.C. Highway 581 south and N.C. Highway 97. A power line was down at Red Oak Battleboro Road.