Winds, trees knock power out

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2009

Staff report
Almost 4,000 Duke Energy customers lost power Wednesday afternoon as wind toppled trees and brought down utility lines.
After a rude awakening Wednesday morning with heavy rain and thunder, brisk winds buffeted the area later in the day.
Slightly more than 1 inch of rain fell across the area before daybreak as a line of storms swept through.
By early afternoon, the county’s 911 telecommunicators got a flurry of calls reporting trees or limbs down.
Shortly before 2 p.m., a tree was reported down on Franklin Street in China Grove, blocking the street and causing potential problems as China Grove Elementary prepared to dismiss school for the day.
China Grove Fire Department responded to clear the tree.
In Salisbury, Heather Honbarrier of 1313 Park Ave. (off Newsome Road) was getting ready to go pick up her son from school when she heard a loud noise.
Honbarrier and her boyfriend, Bryan Brown, looked outside and were a little bit shocked.
A huge oak in the front yard had uprooted and pulled over utility lines. Many of the large dead limbs had broken when the tree crashed into the street and utility lines.
A Rowan Sheriff’s deputy came by and advised them to stay clear of the lines, which were still electrified.
While they still had power, the tree ripped service lines away from the house next door.
About the same time, winds knocked over a large pine tree in Landis, smashing into the home of a former Mayor Rudy Wise at 503 W. Fifth St.
Reed Linn, fire chief, said the tree damaged the left rear part of the of the house, breaking through into the attic. But the tree limbs did not reach inside the house.
Firefighters secured the house, cutting off the power.
Wise and his family were not at home.
Landis Power and Light had a small number of outages scattered through the service district, but all were restored by around 4 p.m.
Spencer also had several trees down on power lines, which caused multiple problems.
Winds associated with the storm kept firefighters, utility crews and state road crews busy throughout the afternoon.
As winds increased, more trees came down and brought power lines with them.
Around 3 p.m., Duke reported 3,905 outages in Rowan County.
By 5 p.m., the number had been reduced to fewer than 1,000.
Earlier Wednesday morning, as a line of storms moved through the area, two trees fell near Granite Quarry.
One tree came down at Barringer Street and Faith Road. Another came down on Balfour Quarry Road, partially obstructing traffic.
Crews removed the trees early Wednesday morning.
More trees could be coming down today as more high winds are in the forecast.
A spokesman for the N.C. Highway Patrol dispatch center said serious wrecks were reported during the brief deluge.
Overnight rainfall measured between 1.01 inches at Salisbury Fire Station 1 on East Innes Street to 1.5 inches at L.L. Goodnight and Sons feed store in Enochville.
Piedmont Research Station on Sherrill’s Ford Road recorded 1.3 inches.