Storm claims two lives

Published 7:32 pm Sunday, July 1, 2012

This house on Northwood Road in Smallwood was damaged by a tree falling on it. (WDN Photo/Betty Mitchell Gray)

The National Weather Service has confirmed that two people were killed and at least 40 injured in Beaufort County during the severe thunderstorm that tore through eastern North Carolina Sunday afternoon.

Apparently two people were killed when a tree fell on their golf cart in Blounts Creek.

Additionally, the Coast Guard and the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS teams responded to multiple calls concerning capsized boats on the Pamlico River and Chocowinity Bay.

Washington fire Chief Robbie Rose confirmed that one man was rescued from the Pamlico River near the Washington train trestle after his boat engine stalled and he fell overboard. His wife and daughter were on the boat as the storm’s winds blew it down the river.

Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS personnel retrieved the man from the water and were returning to the Havens Gardens boat ramps when they crossed paths with his family aboard a Sea Tow boat. The family was reunited.

In addition to the Coast Guard and the Washington dive team, the Bath Volunteer Fire Department and the Sydney dive team also helped search the river and Chocowinity Bay.

By 6:45 p.m., the search-and-rescue mission had ended and all calls had been accounted for, according to Rose.

Tideland Electric Membership Corp. is working to restore power in its service areas.

“At approximately 4:30 (p.m.) today, Dominion Power, which provides transmission service to Tideland Electric, lot two transmission structures between the towns of Everetts and Wharton. The repair of those towers is expected to take some time, and we need our Tideland members north of the Pamlico River to be prepared to be without power over night,” said Tideland Electric Membership Corp. spokeswoman Heidi Smith on Sunday evening. “Once transmission service has been restored, then Tideland will most likely be back on its own system. Until transmission service is restored, we do not know the full extent of outages on our system that may be due to our own lines having some damage. We do have crews dispatched to where there were obvious things reported by the public like a tree on a line or a line down. Again, until transmission service is restored, we won’t really know the full extent of the repairs that need to be made to our system north of the Pamlico.”

Smith described the outage areas.

“The outage north of the Pamlico affects Hyde County, Beaufort County and Washington County. The total number out in those locations is between 9,000 and 10,000 consumers,” she said.

“South of the Pamlico we have the Lowland and Bonnerton circuits out that are out of our Edward substation,” Smith said. “The crews are already working on that outage restoration, and we have no reason to believe that that won’t be restored in the next couple hours. We do have scattered outages. You know the service priority is we work transmission, then substations, then major circuits and then individual outages.”

Smith also warned the public to be careful around downed power lines.

“Treat them as energized. Even if we lost transmission service, someone could turn on a generator. We know a lot of folks are out there clearing trees, but they do need to consider all downed power lines as potentially energized,” she said.

Smith said Tideland customers may receive updates by visiting Tideland’s website at or via Tideland’s Facebook page.