Storm causes damage in Bertie

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2005

What a difference a day makes.

On the heels of Monday’s spring-like weather with highs in the lower 70’s, Roanoke-Chowan area residents saw Old Man Winter return on Tuesday where a powerful cold front, packing wind gusts upwards to 60 mph, tore through the region.

Damage was reported in Bertie County. There, Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins said fallen trees damaged three homes. Additionally, high winds caused an 18-wheeler to flip over on the US 17 bridge spanning the Chowan River.

A mobile home in the Powellsville area was also damaged.

Power outages were widespread throughout the county. A few Askewville area citizens were still without electricity on Wednesday morning.

&uot;The National Weather Service told us that our damage was the result of straight-line winds,&uot; Atkins said. &uot;However, there remains the possibility that there may have been a small tornado embedded in the storm.&uot;

The three homes suffering roof damage from the trees toppled by the high winds were all in the Colerain area – Perrytown, Goose Pond and Glover’s Crossroad. No one was injured due to those fallen trees.

Bertie County Emergency Management Director Ricky Freeman, who was attending an EMS training meeting at Sunset Beach, rushed home early Wednesday morning to assess the damage.

&uot;We’ve got damage in isolated spots, but the good news is that everybody is okay,&uot; Freeman said. &uot;We’re doing what we can for those hit by this storm. I’ve called the Red Cross to see what type of assistance they can provide.&uot;

Freeman went on to add that one of the homes hit by Tuesday’s storm also suffered roof damage during Hurricane Isabel. That home was in the Goose Pond area of Wakelon Road.

&uot;They were just getting back on their feet after Isabel and now this,&uot; Freeman noted.

He said the residents of that home, as well as those occupying the storm-damaged house in the Perrytown community, were considering moving until repairs could be made.

&uot;They’re all the process of waiting for their insurance agents to evaluate the damages,&uot; Freeman said.

Late Tuesday morning, a motorist traveling US 13 just south of Buena Vista told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that she felt she was in a tornado. She said the wind was extremely strong, but it subsided a short time later.

Emergency Management officials in both Hertford and Northampton counties said there were no reports of storm-related damage in their areas.

In nearby Elizabeth City, high winds were to blame for the collapse of a building under construction near the Coast Guard base. The 80,000 square foot building was designed for use as a C-130 aircraft repair hanger. No one was in the building when it collapsed.

Tuesday’s cold front sent thermometers plunging to the upper 30’s by noon. A few, big, wet snowflakes were seen in the Ahoskie area. Meanwhile, southside Virginia experienced a weather rarity – &uot;thunder snow.&uot; That is exactly what it implies, a brief period of extremely heavy snow within a thunderstorm.

Winter weather remains in the local forecast through the weekend. There was the possibility of light flurries last night (Wednesday). The National Weather Service office in Wakefield, Va. was forecasting a possible rain/snow mix Friday night and Saturday in the Roanoke-Chowan area.