03/29/10 — Severe weather hits N.C.

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Severe weather hits N.C.

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 29, 2010 1:46 PM

Wayne County was hit by heavy rain and some thunderstorms overnight, but was spared the violent weather that struck the central part of the state.

National Weather Service investigators were viewing damage thought to be caused by tornadoes in High Point, about 25 miles southwest in the Davidson County community of Linwood, in Person County between Durham and Roxboro, the Gaston County city of Belmont, and the Rowan County town of Spencer.

Strong winds swept across a 150-mile swath of the state and National Weather Service teams were fanning out today to five communities to determine if the ruined homes and broken trees were caused by tornadoes.

A handful of people reported injuries. No deaths were reported.

High Point rescue crews fanned out Sunday night along the presumed tornado's three-mile path, police Lt. Larry Stroud said. High Point Regional Hospital treated four people for minor injuries related to the storms.

"We know that we have lots of structural damage," Stroud said. "We know we have several residences that have been completely destroyed."

In one neighborhood, a side wall was peeled off a house, exposing furniture including a baby's crib inside. Garage doors were yanked off their tracks or curled up from the bottom. The high winds left one home's second floor with just its bare walls standing after its roof was peeled off.

An empty school bus was lifted from its parking space at a High Point day care center and dropped on its side on the sidewalk.

In Belmont, winds blew the roof off the Parkdale Fiber Distribution Center and scattered bits of metal and yellow foam insulation into trees and across the ground, The Charlotte Observer reported.

David Kuhrt was inside his Belmont mobile home when the pouring rain suddenly stopped.

"I looked outside and saw what looked like a cloud of red dirt coming down," he said.

He said he rushed a relative's five children into a bathroom and waited while flying debris pounded against his trailer. He later found a baseball-sized hole punched through an outside wall.

Duke Energy reported early today that about 2,100 customers were without power in Davidson County, along with 1,600 in Guilford County and 2,000 in Rowan County.

There was no serious storm activity in Wayne County, although, as of 8:30 a.m. today, more than two inches of rain had been reported, with a chance of more showers and isolated thunderstorms, possibly with small hail, later this afternoon.

An urban and small stream flood advisory issued by the National Weather Service expired at 9:30 this morning.

"It looks like we have been spared pretty much the worst," Wayne County Fire Marshal Bryan Taylor said. "Mel (Powers, the county's emergency management and security coordinator) and I got out and rode around this morning, checking areas known to flood."

Taylor said he saw some minor street flooding, but that there were no reports of damages or strong winds associated with the storm.

Motorists were cautioned not to drive their vehicles into areas where water covers the road.

The chance of showers and thunderstorms continues this evening. It will be cloudy with a low around 45 with a west wind around 10 mph. The chance of precipitation is 40 percent. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch are possible, except higher amounts will be possible in thunderstorms.

Tuesday should be partly sunny with a high near 65 and west winds around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

It is expected to be mostly clear Tuesday night with a low around 41 with west winds less than 10 mph.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.