High winds pull down trees - some without power

A tree fell on this pickup truck in Chapel Hill Wednesday (Photo from ABC11 viewer Dave M)

February 10, 2010 9:12:13 PM PST
The windy weather caused its share of problems throughout the Triangle Wednesday.

A high wind advisory was in effect for the coastal plain until 9 p.m.

For the Piedmont and Sandhills, the National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for gusts that reached up to 60 mph.

And in the Triangle, sustained wind speeds peaked during the late morning to afternoon hours -- ranging from 25-30 miles per hour. Damaging wind gusts reached 40-50.

Thursday will offer gusty winds of 25-30 mph, but it doesn't appear that there will be any more damaging winds.

Meanwhile by early morning Wednesday, ABC11 had multiple reports of trees down - including a massive tree which crushed a pickup truck in Chapel Hill.

There were also scattered reports of power outages - including about 2,000 homes in Cary. By early afternoon, most Cary homes were back online.

However in Durham, Duke Energy crews worked well into the night clearing power lines that had been tangled with trees and branches.

The power had been out along a stretch of Queen Street for so long that some families had to come up with ways to stay warm through the night.

There were more than 1,000 Duke Energy customers without power reported before midnight Wednesday.

In Raleigh, power outages weren't as numerous - Progress Energy only reported several hundred.

According to arborists, hardwood trees with shallow root systems in soaked soil can fall in high winds. Diseased pines also are at risk. With plenty of rain and snow in the past two weeks, the ground has been saturated.

Progress Energy authorities say preemptive trimming won't keep all tall trees from hitting power lines when trees fall down.

"We expect it to cause some outages," said Mike Hughes, Progress Energy. "We're not expecting it to cause multi-day outages with significant system damage, but customers can expect there to be outages in 50 mile an hour wind gusts."

In Fayetteville, due to the high winds Cumberland Parks & Recreation operated parks were closed Wednesday.

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