Church, homeowners clean up after windy storm

Posted January 29, 2009 9:21 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Members of a church and owners of homes and vehicles damaged in a windy Wednesday storm began cleaning up a day later.

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The storm roared through the Triangle and northern counties in the early evening, producing wind gusts up to an estimated 60 mph. The National Weather Service received eight reports of high winds and storm damage in North Carolina and southern Virginia.

In Franklinton, straight-line winds ripped off half the roof of the Sunday School building of Franklinton Baptist Church, 102 W. Mason St., around 5 p.m. No one was hurt, but damage was estimated at more than $100,000.

"It's been a hub of this community for many, many years," Pastor David Averette said of the church built in the 1800s. "I was speaking with one of our members this morning, and she says the different threads of her life are woven through this church."

On Thursday morning, Averette surveyed the damage. Dashed air-conditioning units and debris remained scattered all over the sidewalk.

Despite that damage, the pastor said he was thankful – if the storm had struck a couple hours later, about 50 children would have been attending a Bible study in the building.

"That was part of our prayer and our praise that this happened at a time when it affected the least amount of people, and that's part of the things that we have to be thankful for," Averette said.

Up the road from Franklinton Baptist, tree limbs crashed into two cars parked at a daycare. No one was injured.

An old, rotted tree fell into a bedroom belonging to some girls who live at 2818 Exeter Court in Raleigh, family members said. The family was home when the tree fell around 5 p.m. but were downstairs, and no one was injured. They said it felt like an earthquake hit.

A downed tree ripped apart a portion of WRAL viewer's home in Chapel Hill, and another fallen tree totaled a car in a neighborhood off Ridge Road in Raleigh.

Nash County law enforcement said that high winds took down multiple trees along Red Oak-Battleboro Road, north of Dortches. Downed trees were also reported along Wood Duke Road, near Willbanks, and Dickens Road, near Speed, in Edgecombe County.

Radar caught a wind gust of an estimated 60 mph in Gates in eastern North Carolina.