Straight line winds blamed for damage

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

AHOSKIE – Tree damage in and around the area of Beechwood Country Club on Friday has been blamed on straight-line winds.

Hertford County Emergency Management Director Chris Smith sent a request to the National Weather Service office in Wakefield, VA for meteorologists there to review the radar images from the line of thunderstorms that roared through the local area around 12 noon on Friday.

“There is a strong bowing line segment right there at that address (Beechwood Country Club) with signs of very powerful straight line winds,” said Jeff Orrock of NWS – Wakefield. “Winds were likely around 70 mph or a little stronger.”

Straight-line winds are common with the gust front of a thunderstorm or originate with a downburst from a thunderstorm. These events can cause considerable damage, even in the absence of a tornado.

“There was damage to trees on the golf course as well as downed trees at some of the homes there at the course,” Smith said. “It wasn’t your average damage from a typical thunderstorm, it covered too wide of an area.”

Smith added that Hertford County, as well as other counties in the Roanoke-Chowan area, was under a Tornado Watch last Friday.

“That means conditions were favorable at that time for severe storms to develop, but this particular one at Beechwood came up without warning,” Smith noted. “It caught a lot of people off-guard.”

Strong winds and small hail was also reported along Modlin Road and the Union community. Smith said there was also a report on Friday of downed trees in the Como area, including one that blocked traffic on US 258.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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