05/24/04 — Storms cause damage over weekend

View Archive

Storms cause damage over weekend

By David Rouse
Published in News on May 24, 2004 1:58 PM

Strong storms blasted areas of North Carolina over the weekend, but Wayne County escaped the brunt of the high winds, flooding rains and damaging hail.

One house in southern Wayne County, however, was struck by lightning, causing a fire.

Most of Wayne was just south of a line of storms that left flooded roads in Johnston and Wilson counties Saturday night and more flooding in eastern counties Sunday.

In Wayne, golf ball-sized hail fell along portions of Perkins Road on Sunday afternoon and pea-sized hail was reported in downtown Goldsboro, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

Some Goldsboro homes and businesses had power outages Saturday and Sunday nights, said Progress Energy spokesman Keith Westbrook.

The outages were likely caused by lightning strikes, he said. "Anything like that is going to play havoc with the power grid."

A bolt of lightning started a fire that damaged a home at 560 Country Club Road, north of Mount Olive. The home, occupied by Jimmy Lee, and its contents sustained about $70,000 in damages.

"It made a mess of the wires and fuse boxes," Dudley Fire Chief Kendall Lee said. Sixteen Dudley volunteer firefighters responded to the 8 p.m. call. Mount Olive assisted.

"They did a good job in keeping it in the attic," Lee said. "But it burned the roof."

The one-story home, owned by the chief's grandmother, Georgia Lee, was valued at $95,000.

The storms did more damage Sunday night than they did on Saturday. At the peak of the outage, more than 85 customers were without power.

The rain gauge at the Goldsboro News-Argus measured .7 inches of rain on Sunday. For the month, rainfall totals reached 4.32 inches. Average rainfall for May, according to records kept by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, is 3.6 inches.

For the first four months, rainfall has measured around 7.5 inches, about half of the 15.1 average as measured over a 30-year period at Seymour Johnson.

Severe thunderstorms could continue to cause damage across parts of North Carolina for the first half of this week, a meteorologist said.

Thunderstorms brought strong winds to the western half of the state and nickel-sized hail to parts of the eastern half on Sunday. Officials said a small empty airplane blew over when a storm passed over Concord Regional Airport.

Phil Badgett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Raleigh office, said he expects severe thunderstorms to pop up in the state until a cold front moves through Wednesday night.

"It's so unusual for this time of the year," he said. "We're in a mid-summer type of pattern with a typical Bermuda-type high pressure system that covers most of the southeastern part of the country."

Badgett said areas in Wilson and southern Nash counties received 5 to 8 inches of rain over a three-hour period Saturday night. Pitt County also had about 5 inches of rain, he said.