Strong winds cause damage across viewing area

Severe damage was reported from several counties on Saturday night into Sunday morning because of the wind.

A brush fire in Wake Forest blocked Harris Road. The fire started on Harris Road and Oak Avenue, near Joyner Park.

As of late Saturday night, the fire was contained, but crews remained on scene to monitor the flames.

Nearby residents were not required to evacuate, but the town hall was open to those who didn't want to stay at home.

Elsewhere, eyewitnesses reported a garage collapse in Warren County and a roof ripped off of a barn in Person County.

In some areas wind gusts were as high as 50 miles per hour or more.

In the morning light, residents could be seen braving the frigid temperatures to assess the damage. That was the scene at the Glen Lennox Apartments in Chapel Hill where Charlene Wu and her family live.

"The wind last night was very strong, it was howling, I didn't know what was happening, so we just stayed home, better to stay home," said Wu.

She went on to add that their power went out overnight, causing temperatures inside their unit to plummet. But, when they awoke Sunday morning, they learned their neighbors across the street had fared far worse. A large tree had fallen on the unit, leaving a gaping hole in both the roof and part of one of the walls.

Management for the property sent maintenance crews out to start cleaning up the damage. Although they couldn't comment on camera, they tell ABC11 that the residents were home, in the living room at the time, but all escaped unharmed.

That came as a relief to many of their concerned neighbors who were shocked by the extent of the damage.

"We worried, are they our friends? Are they OK? The people who lived here who had such a tragedy happen to them?" questioned Wu.

Elsewhere in the viewing area there were numerous reports of damage. That included a large tree that was toppled in Durham at Gregson and Demerius Streets, crushing part of the fence and causing some damage to the home there.

Also in Durham, police were on the scene at Plum Street and Angier Avenue where a tree landed across the road. Meanwhile, another tree snapped at its base near Duke Campus. And along Marne Avenue, a row of once orderly trash cans was knocked over like bowling pins.

For residents out surveying the damage, it's a reminder of Mother Nature's power as we prepare for the latest round of winter weather.

"Suddenly there's a tree falling down on houses, and we begin [to get] worried. Is it going to happen again? I don't know. I hope not!" Wu exclaimed.

Duke Energy urges everyone to be prepared in case the winter storm causes any more power outages. They advise:

-Checking your supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, medicines, and non-perishable food.

-Having a portable, battery operated radio for weather alerts.

-Checking on neighbors and relatives that are elderly or have special medical needs.

-Avoiding heating your home with a gas grill or generator, due to ventilation problems.

Stay with ABC11 for all the latest weather updates.

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