11/12/09 — Ida-effect causing trouble for N.C.

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Ida-effect causing trouble for N.C.

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 12, 2009 1:46 PM

Wednesday's heavy rain that dumped 3.5 inches of water on Wayne County will ease off today to a lighter rainfall, but the area will still be buffeted by gusty winds that are expected to continue until Friday morning.

Wayne County schools opened on their normal schedule this morning, but Duplin schools began two hours late.

The area can expect up to another inch of rain today, forecasters said, tapering off to much smaller amounts by Friday morning.

A wind advisory remains in affect until 6 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh. Wind speeds will average 20-25 miles per hour with gusts of up to 35-40 miles per hour out of the north.

"It is fairly calm at the moment," said Blair Tyndall, Wayne County EMS and safety manager. "We have no reports of damage, even through the night. There have been no problems other that the usual (traffic) accidents that occur during heavy rains." Several accidents were reported this morning.

The combination of soggy ground and high winds always poses a threat of toppling trees, said Tyndall and Barrett Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Smith said there have been spotty scattered reports of fallen trees taking down power lines in Jones and Carteret counties.

Bob Kornegay, manager of marketing and member services for Tri-County EMC in Dudley, said spotty outages started last night because of downed trees and continued into the morning.

"There is nothing major and we are staying on top of them," he said.

Probably fewer than 100 customers have been affected by the outages, he said. Tri-County serves more than 22,340 customers in Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Johnston, Jones, Sampson and Wilson counties.

Progress Energy was dealing with close to 35,000 customers who were without Wednesday mostly in Wake, Johnston and Chatham counties.

One Duplin County customer was without power this morning. There were no reported outages in Wayne County.

"Things are looking good at that area," said Scott Sutton of Progress Energy.

"The problems in cases like this is after a good soaking the ground is really wet and with wind old trees fall on lines," he said.

The county was in a "bit of lull" this morning as one system was building to the west in the Triad area and another in the northeast. The two systems are expected to combine later today, bringing up to another inch of rain.

Wayne County is expected to be on the southern edge of the merged system, Smith said.

Smith said that of this morning he was unaware of any reported flooding. Some flooding reported near the coast could be tide-related, he said.

The system is not a direct result of the remains of Hurricane Ida, Smith said. Ida is responsible for a lot of moisture in the atmosphere, but that systems moving in from the west and southeast were responsible pumping the moisture into the area.