Quick storm leaves lasting damage

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rick Coughenour was sitting on his porch during Thursday night’s storm that tore through Rowan and the surrounding counties, but little did he know the storm unearthed an oak tree that came crashing through his house.
“I was out watching it and never seen a wind like that,” Coughenour said.
Coughenour, who lives at 213 Hickory Lane, Salisbury, said he didn’t even hear the tree topple over because of the noise from the wind. The roadway, which ends in a cul-de-sac was littered with limbs and debris. Coughenour’s home had extensive damage to the back portion, particularly his bedroom. There was also part of another tree that snapped, sending the top portion of the tree onto the house as well.
Coughenour, who lives alone, was not injured, but was concerned about a cat that often stayed in his bedroom. The cat was not injured, but was frightened, he said.
He slept in a recliner in the living room, but did not try to go into his bedroom, he said.
A hall bathroom also has some structural damage and parts of the tree crashed through the bathroom closet.
He had to have someone cut away the top parts of the tree in order to place a tarp over the home Thursday afternoon. Coughenour said he did get some rain in the house before the tarp went up. He is unsure of the total damage from the storm, but said his insurance company is working with him. He’s already had an estimate from a tree service, which told him it would likely take a crane to lift the tree.
The storm also snapped tree limbs, sending them falling onto power lines, homes and cars. Rowan County Emergency Services Director Frank Thomason said emergency communications received 200 calls between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., most of which were storm related.
In the southern part of the county, Landis town officials say the first report of power outage came at 4:40 p.m and all power was restored by 6:50 p.m.
During the peak of the storm, for nearly one hour, town hall staff fielded more than 500 calls for service. Town Manager Reed Linn said it appears 2,000 customers or meters were affected by the storm.
There was a house fire in the 300 block of East Rice Street where lightning struck the home. The occupants were able to get out of the house and no injuries were reported, Linn said.
Since the storm began affecting customers prior to 5 p.m., town staff remained at town hall to answer phones and transfer calls to the Public Works Department.
Public Works Director Steve Rowland said his department removed limbs and other debris off the roadway. Once customers called with outages and other issues, public works employees were then dispatched to the area, Rowland said.
Rowland said the occupant of a home on Baylor Avenue reported the meter box caught fire. A tree fell across power lines at the home, knocking down a pole and shutting off power to the house.
Power outages were also reported at the Club at Irish Creek, Windward Lane and Bonita Drive, to name a few.
Much of Friday was spent cleaning up debris and restoring power to residents throughout Rowan County. As of 5 p.m. Friday, there were 3,080 Duke Energy customers without power.
The American Red Cross, Carolina Piedmont Region provided shelter, food, water and comfort to people affected by storms in the region. There were 30,000 customers without power in the region. Two Rowan County families were assisted Thursday, officials said. These families were displaced by the storm, but it is not clear if they were affected by house fires caused by the weather or outages. A shelter in Stanly County was opened Thursday, closed overnight and reopened early Friday morning. The shelter closed permanently at noon. The Red Cross also provided a canteen to Caldwell County for firefighters Thursday night.
Red Cross officials also had an emergency shelter in Montgomery County that closed after midnight. Cabarrus, Burke and Alexander counties all had families that were aided by Red Cross.