Storms cause damage, accidents Wednesday

Oak tree crashes into home in the Five Points area of Raleigh after storm Wednesday

September 28, 2011 9:52:54 AM PDT
Some early morning storms caused problems for commuters and homeowners Wednesday.

Slick roads are likely to blame for a tractor trailer accident that shut down both directions of I-95 in Johnston County near Benson at mile marker 79 shortly after 6 a.m. Lanes began to reopen around 7:30 a.m.

The truck was carrying 40,000 pounds of military uniforms. It is unclear if the items were damaged in the accident.

Around the same time on I-40, a car swerved off the road near Hwy 54. The accident, along with slick roads, caused slight delays during the morning commute.

The heavy rains also caused part of a tree to fall in downtown Raleigh, blocking McDowell and West Martin streets. Authorities were able to reopen one lane after crews moved the tree to the side of the roadway.

In the Five Points area of Raleigh, the powerful storm uprooted ancient oak trees and sent them crashing to the ground and into one home.

"I just remember waking up barely and kind of being in mid-air headed toward the living room trying to find my dog and just feeling really, really scared, trembling," East Five Points resident Nelson Mendoza said. "It was pitch black. The power had gone out and I was trying to get my bearings figuring out what was happening."

At first when the huge oak tree came crashing into the master bathroom, Mendoza - just feet away - said he didn't know what was happening. He said even though the house shook violently, he later realized it wasn't the tree that launched him from his bed, it was adrenaline.

"It's kind of my fight or flight instinct kicked in while I was waking up," Mendoza said. "I really don't remember getting out of bed, but I remember being in motion going out of my room."

Mendoza's house is a mess -left open to a sky hemorrhaging rain and hail. But he and his dog are okay.

When daylight came, Mendoza said he got his first real glimpse of just how close of a call this was.

"I just feel very lucky," he said. "I feel very lucky. I mean, my emotions kind of go up and down about the whole thing cause it's a lot of damage to the house. But I feel lucky, me and my dog are okay."

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