Storm victim: 'It all happened so quick'
Posted July 17, 2009 10:35 a.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2009 7:44 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Fast-moving storms cut east across North Carolina Friday, leaving behind damaged houses, downed trees, power outages and some beautiful rainbows.
"We had a steamy and stormy Friday," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said. "Some of those storms reached severe limits during the afternoon and evening hours."
On Saturday morning, power outages affected about 300 Progress and Duke Energy customers. Service should be restored over the next couple hours.
The storm system caused damage across central and eastern North Carolina and southern Virginia. The National Weather Service received 49 reports of wind damage, 13 of hail and four of tornadoes – including two from Beaufort County.
More than an inch of rain fell in some spots, including northern Orange, Durham, Lee and Cumberland counties and in strip south of Rocky Mount. Most areas got between a quarter and three-quarters of an inch.
The storms did significant damage to at least two homes in the Anderson Creek area of Harnett County.
Cal Tenhet said he was home during a storm when he heard "bam, bam" and looked outside. Pieces of roofing and a patio set in his driveway were thrown into his back yard.
"It all happened so quick," Tenhet said.
Andy Ruhland tracked the storms by watching WRAL's radar on his cell phone. When a storm rushed toward his property, he told his family to run for it.
"I saw debris going. It was instant – get everyone in a room now," Ruhland said.
Fallen trees knocked out his power and blocked his driveway, but his family was safe.
Strong winds downed trees throughout the region, including Wake County. A tree fell on Jeff Walker's car off Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.
"It's not what you want to see when you look out the window, but (it's) certainly better hitting the car instead of your house," Walker said.
His neighbor, Marshall McCoy, was not as lucky. McCoy returned from the grocery store to find that a tree had hit his house.
"The traffic light up here was off at the corner," McCoy said. "I turned the corner and this (tree) is in the middle of the street ... and that's my house. It could have been a lot worse. I feel bad for Jeff's car."
In other damage, lightning is believed to have started a fire at Canterbury Apartments in Zebulon, and a fallen street light on McDowell Street in Raleigh caught fire. Downed trees were reported along Red Mountain Road in Rougemont, N.C. Highway 581 in Spring Hope and Jaycross Road in Fremont.
While lightning still fizzled in the distance, Ruhland and Tenhet already had help cleaning up. Tenhet's friends climbed on top of his house to patch the metal roof, and Ruhland's used a chainsaw and tractor to chop up the fallen trees.
"We are trying to beat this storm, as you can see. One more time again," Ruhland said.