Wind causes minor damage

Published 1:15 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This Bradford pear, located just off U.S. Highway 264 east of Washington, was split by gusting winds Tuesday. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Knocks out power, topples trash cans

Beaufort County avoided the catastrophic damages reported elsewhere in the South during and after severe weather Monday and Tuesday.

Light, scattered damages were acknowledged around Washington Tuesday afternoon following a brief windstorm that uprooted some signs, tipped over trash cans, downed at least a couple of trees and ripped banners to shreds.

The wind gusted to around 31 mph at Washington’s Warren Field Airport, according to the National Weather Service’s website. Other wind measurements for the county weren’t available.

The whipping gusts felled a Bradford pear tree near Forest Hills Nursery just off U.S. Highway 264 east of the city.

Some of the tree’s limbs temporarily blocked a lane of U.S. 264 before being sawed away by road crews.

“This place was a disaster,” said Pattie Queen, owner of Forest Hills.

She referred to numerous potted plants that had been knocked over when the worst of the wind swept through.

“This place was flattened about two hours ago,” Queen said, adding she had to call in extra help to clean up the nursery.

The nursery’s greenhouses appeared to escape unscathed, though the same couldn’t be said for some roofing shingles in other parts of the community.

According to Keith Hardt, director of Washington Electric Utilities, around 100 WEU customers lost power for approximately two hours when tree limbs fell on power lines in the Neck Road-Harvey Road vicinity.

Heidi Smith, spokeswoman for Tideland Electric Membership Corp. said her electric utility responded to two spot outages south of the Pamlico River in the Chocowinity-Hickory Point area.

Neither of these outages affected more than 30 homes, and the longest of the two lasted an hour and a half, Smith related.

One outage was caused by a falling tree limb, while the other occurred when lightning struck a piece of utility equipment, she said.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Police Department had received no damage reports, and neither had Beaufort County’s emergency management department.

Asked whether any of Tuesday’s traffic problems could be tied to the weather, Sgt. Tim Crumpler, in the Washington office of the N.C. Highway Patrol, said a couple of deer-related wrecks occurred Tuesday morning.

Otherwise, patrolmen saw small limbs and trees down in the area.

“Nothing major,” Crumpler said of weather effects in the county.