07/02/12 — Storm drops hail, some trees in county

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Storm drops hail, some trees in county

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 2, 2012 1:46 PM

Heavy rain and hail ranging from penny-to-near-golf-ball size pummeled Mount Olive for about 15 minutes Sunday afternoon while the storm's strong winds left branches and trees down across the area including on Thunder Swamp Road at N.C. 55 and on South Church Street.

As of early this morning there were no reports of crops being damaged by the hail, and for the most part, crops have done well despite the heat, said Kevin Johnson, director of the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Service.

"I don't know of any damage and have not talked to anyone who has experienced any, " he said.

The same storm downed some trees near Fremont in northern Wayne County, too. There were no reports of injuries.

However, in Duplin County, a man was reportedly struck by lightning in Beulaville about 5 p.m. Sunday. The victim refused transport. Duplin County dispatch had calls about three damaged structures from the storm and downed trees -- mostly near Beulaville and Kenansville.

Meanwhile, a heat advisory remains in effect for eastern North Carolina from noon today until 9 p.m. A strong high pressure system has settled over the Southeast. It will gradually move west, but until then the state can expect an extended period of dangerously hot weather to persist after today. The high humidity and hot temperatures creates conditions for people to suffer heat illnesses.

Today's high is expected to be around 99 with a heat index of around 105. Tuesday's high is expected to be near 96 with a heat index of about 102.

A spokesman for Wayne Memorial Hospital said its emergency room has seen few, if any, heat-related emergencies.

The storm struck Mount Olive around 4 p.m. and lasted less than 20 minutes.

In Sampson County trees were reported down between Hobbton and Turkey. Hail and downed trees were reported in parts of Wilson County, including trees on two houses and power lines. A person was injured in Cumberland County when a tree fell on their vehicle.

The National Weather Service does not measure rainfall in Mount Olive, but local officials said it was less than an inch. No rainfall was reported at the weather station on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are forecast for today through Friday.

Johnson said northern Wayne had gotten little rain out of the storm that seemed to have been better organized as it crossed the southern part of the county.

"As far as the heat, it is amazing that the crops have taken this better than we thought they would, other than the young corn," he said. "Corn planted early looks fine. In most cases the pollination was completed. What was helpful was the good rain we got before the heat.

"We had two and a half days of monstrous heat. We are very fortunate to have gotten the rainfall and the crops are in good shape."

James Parson, Cooperative Extension Office area poultry specialist, said early today that he was still waiting on reports from producers and could not say what losses, if any had been experienced.

"But I would bet on it because of the heat," he said.

Johnson said he had not heard of any losses, but would not be surprised if there were some.