06/22/06 — A flash and then gone ... storm downs trees, knocks out power

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A flash and then gone ... storm downs trees, knocks out power

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 22, 2006 1:55 PM

Thunderstorms crossing Wayne County Wednesday afternoon downed trees, cut utility lines and flooded some roadways.

No injuries were reported.

Goldsboro General Services Director Joe Sawyer said his crews responded to 12 incidents on city streets, including downed trees and limbs. Trees reportedly fell on George, William and Carolina streets, and others.

"We had nine trees come down and several large limbs. And we had two trees that had limbs fall into power lines," Sawyer said today.

The National Weather Service reported trees down and lightning strikes in Mount Olive, Patetown and Saulston.

Sawyer said his department responded as quickly as possible, with two crews working to clear streets. Within three to four hours, they had completed their work, he said.

Other service departments were busy responding to residents, too.

Progress Energy officials said that at the height of the storm, close to 4,500 customers in the area were without power. Additionally, electricity to some city traffic lights was knocked out briefly.

Crews responded between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. and the "numbers went down quickly," and as of this morning, all power had been restored, officials added.

Some Goldsboro police officers were also busy cleaning up the mess left by the storm when strong winds swept the roof off a building downtown. AAR Corp., that recently announced its plans earlier this year to move operations to Wayne County, suffered damage at its warehouse on William Street.

Wayne County Economic Development Commission President Joanna Thompson was with AAR Corp. employees at the warehouse as the storm came through and said part of the roof was torn off of the building, falling on William Street.

"It's one of those things where you don't know what to say. Welcome to Wayne County -- during hurricane season," Ms. Thompson said.

Across town on N.C. 117 south, another business, Jeffrey's Seed Company, was feeling the effects of the wind.

The company's roof had been pulled back by the gusts, leaving damage to the company sprinkler system.

As water spouted from the break, more damage could be seen on the property -- a telephone pole had fallen through a billboard and crushed a section of the fence guarding the property's perimeter.

In Mount Olive, wind and rain were only part of the problem. Lightning struck a home at 139 Pineland Ave., igniting a fire in the garage that caused smoked damage to the residence.

Firefighter Michael Williams said Dudley and Indian Springs fire departments joined Mount Olive in battling the flames.

"The fire actually started in the garage," he said. "There's smoke damage in the house. They're going to have to clean it up, but it will be livable after they get the smoke smell out of it."

"We expect things like this to happen in a storm," Sawyer said. "It wasn't that bad."

News-Argus Staff Writer Turner Walston contributed to this story.