Severe thunderstorm downs trees, power lines

Autumn-like temperatures this week
Jul. 29, 2014 @ 09:17 AM

Across many areas of Rutherford County Monday morning people were picking up sticks, sawing logs and raking lawns of large oak leaves and branches that fell Sunday night.

A fast moving severe thunderstorm came through the county Sunday at about 9:30 p.m. uprooting dozens of large trees, toppling trees onto buildings or homes and scattering debris across lawns. 

Lawn furniture was overturned and at one house where a large tree fell across, the flower garden was downed, also.

Roger Hollifield, emergency management coordinator, said there were no injuries.

Hundreds of people were without power beginning at 9:30 p.m.  Power restoration was ongoing in some areas of the county late Monday afternoon including a portion of U.S. 221, Main Street in Rutherfordton, where a power pole was broken.

Across Rutherford County fire departments were dispatched until 12 a.m. Monday.

In the Lake Lure, Green Hill areas there were multiple trees down blocking highways.

"It was rough for a little while but we made it through," said Tony Sullivan, fire chief at Green Hill Fire Department. "We were going in all directions."

Calls began coming into Green Hill at 9 p.m. and by 12 a.m. calls had subsided.

National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Moore said wind gusts were likely up to 60 mph, but an exact wind speed was difficult to measure since the storm was moving west to northwest and east to southeast.

"It was moving pretty fast," Moore said.

Marcus Wilkins, who lives on Crestview Street in Forest City, was at home Sunday at 9:30 p.m. as trees began falling across power lines and across Bethany Church Road. He said he helped cut the trees and others moved them from the road. 

He said he spent much of Monday morning picking up sticks and debris.

At about 2 p.m. Monday as he was inside the house, a large pine tree in his back yard fell on a neighbor's fence, pulled down power lines and made another mess.

"I was in the house and heard this and then no power," Wilkins said. "I was fixing to start cutting this, but Duke Energy told me to wait," he said. 

A residence off Butler Road had a large tree uprooted, falling across the front lawn and into a fence. A flower bed that was planted around the base of the tree fell as the tree went down.

Jean Ingold, who lives off Pleasant Hill Road, Rutherfordton, had a tree fall on her trailer. She was at home Sunday night when she heard the noise but didn't realize until Monday morning how large the tree was.  She did not lose electricity.

As the storm front moves out, the remainder of the week will bring below normal temperatures. "We are looking over the forecast and for mid-to the latter part of the week, it's going to be more like the last days of summer," Moore said.

Temperatures on Wednesday are predicted to 81 degrees.

 "Our normal highs do not drop to 81 degrees until around Sept. 21," Moore said.

"So people will be walking around thinking it's early autumn," Moore said. But  eventually we'll return to something more typical of summer weather."