Holly Springs bouncing back after heavy storm damage

Posted April 19, 2011 3:06 p.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2011 10:58 p.m. EDT

— The town of Holly Springs in southern Wake County continues to assess damage to homes and businesses after 12 supercell thunderstorms whipped up 25 tornadoes across central and eastern North Carolina Saturday.

Officials said Tuesday that they've assessed about 70 percent of the community's affected areas so far.

Town Hall reopened in its full capacity Tuesday after widespread power outages were restored. But in many parts of the town of about 25,000 people, normal life has not yet resumed. Piles of tree limbs several feet high await curbside pick-up, roofs are mangled and a few houses have been condemned by town safety inspectors.

Officials said a fire station on Avent Ferry Road near the N.C. Highway 55 Bypass might be a total loss due to extensive water damage caused when the roof separated from the building during the storm, allowing heavy rains to soak the interior. The fire trucks were out on calls and weren't damaged.

The station was built in the early 1970s and had been renovated three years ago, town officials said.

About 15 homes have significant damage, and dozens of others will need minor fixes. Wake County as a whole estimates needing up to $100 million worth of storm repairs.

In the Fairview community near Kildaire Farm and Holly Springs roads, one mother is trying to ease the fears of her two young children, who witnessed the storm's ferocity first-hand.

Amy Owens was pulling into the driveway of her sister's house with her 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughters when a tree smashed down on her car, crushing the windshield and shattering the back windows.

Owens and her daughters got out with just some scrapes and bruises, but they're still shaken.

"Later that night, my 4-year-old didn't want to take her shoes off to go to bed because she thought she was going to have to run from the tornado," Owens said.

Town inspectors will continue to assess damages throughout the week.