Storm victims brace for possible severe weather

Posted April 26, 2011 11:11 p.m. EDT
Updated April 27, 2011 11:11 a.m. EDT

— As the potential for severe weather in North Carolina increases Wednesday and Thursday, many people hope that rain and winds won't worsen damage to their homes caused by tornadoes on April 16.

A storm system that has killed 14 people in Arkansas and Mississippi is heading for North Carolina.

"Fortunately, it does not look like it will be as strong as it was across the Midwest and parts of the Deep South," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Central and eastern North Carolina will see spotty, light showers Wednesday morning, and isolated storms could pop up in the afternoon as winds gust up to 30 mph.

"We could have a few thunderstorms pop up," Gardner said. "Some of those could produce some brief, heavy rain. We could also see a little bit of isolated wind damage."

Thursday will be stormier, Gardner said.

"That front moves in here and will bring us a better chance of more widespread storms and a slight chance of severe weather," she said.

The storms could produce damaging winds, hail and even isolated tornadoes.

"For all those folks that have damage, they don't need the rain. That's just going to add insult to injury," Maze said.

Tarps hang from battered roofs across the state's hardest-hit areas, and some people fear that the black and blue nylon coverings won't be enough to keep out wind and rain.

"We are hoping the wind does not take our tarps off," said Raleigh storm victim Don Muskin, whose mobile home is riddled with holes in its roof.

Muskin, who doesn't have insurance, said if rain gets into the home and causes water damage, it might not be salvageable.

"If this happens again, we will probably be homeless," he said.

Cassandra Finger, who lives off Forestville Road in Raleigh, is still living in her heavily damaged house. She hopes she can keep the elements out as well.

"My roof is pretty much gone," she said.

Still, others are counting their blessings that they've still got a home to hang a tarp from, when so many saw others their homes decimated by the storms.

"We feel very fortunate compared to many people right around us," said Barbara Brown. She and her husband Walter need $12,000 in repairs.

They, too, will keep a close eye on the weather report this week, Brown said.

After the cold front passes Thursday evening, storm victims can take relief in a stretch of calmer weather.

"Over the weekend, we can relax a bit – less humid, very pleasant temperature-wise, upper 70s Friday and Saturday and mid 80s Sunday, sunny," Gardner said. "Just nice and quiet."