Powerful storm topples trees

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 07:55 PM

Thousands of people in Lee County and the surrounding areas were left without power after a short but intense storm Thursday night that hit many areas around central North Carolina.

Lee County Emergency Management Director Shane Seagroves said about 30 trees fell across roads during the half-hour of extreme weather in Lee County, and approximately four homes were hit by falling trees, but no significant damage or injuries were reported.

“I know it’s bad that we were without power last night, but it could’ve been a lot worse,” he said.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jeff Johnson said his office mainly fielded calls related to vehicles damaged by falling debris. Local Red Cross coordinator Michele Bullard said no families in the local area — or even in surrounding counties — had saught her agency’s help finding temporary shelter due to the weather.

“I don’t know how we made it,” she said, “but there’s nothing.”

According to Heather Vaughan, Central Electric Corporation communications specialist, that group had about 9,500 power outages in Chatham, Lee, Harnett and Moore counties Thursday night. Lee County was the power company’s worst-hit area, with 2,646 outages. Moore County had 2,333; Harnett County had 1,640; Chatham County had 767.

According to a map on the company’s website, nine customers were without power as of 5:30 p.m. Friday, including one in Lee County, one in Harnett County, none in Moore County and seven in Chatham County.

Duke Energy reported Friday morning on Twitter that it was dealing with more than 350,000 outages, mostly in North Carolina. By 1 p.m., the company reported it was still dealing with about 200,000 outages. Lee and Moore counties were among the most affected areas, the company said in a statement, along with Wake, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, Johnston, Guilford and Rockingham counties.

The statement added: “Customers in the hardest-hit counties should prepare for the possibility of a multi-day outage.”

Duke Energy Progress customers (former Progress Energy customers) can report outages at 800-419-6356, and Duke Energy Carolinas customers (former Duke Energy customers) can report outages at 800-769-3766.

People should stay away from downed or sagging power lines and report them by calling 911 and also 800-769-3766 for Duke lines or 1-877-766-6769 for Central Electric lines.