CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. – A microburst is to blame for blowing down trees and power lines across Caldwell County Friday night, the National Weather Service tells officials.
Emergency management officials asked the public to stay away from Gamewell and Collettsville due to an emergency situation caused by heavy thunderstorms. High wind speeds typical of microbursts, like the one that accompanied Friday’s storms, can do damage similar to that of a tornado.
County officials surveyed the damage by air Saturday afternoon. They say the damage appears to fall within a four-mile stretch from Franklin Place to Highway 90 and Abington Road. Twisted trees were left scattered across the ground, along with other wreckage.
Several roads in Gamewell and Collettsville north of Highway 18 were closed to all but emergency vehicles, but most have since reopened.
Wind knocked down trees and power lines all across that region, and the Johns River flooded in the Collettsville area. Five inches of rain fell in Collettsville in just hour, officials say. Mudslides were also reported.
Officials are asking residents that live in those areas to stay home and avoid driving.
Duke Energy is still restoring power to customers. As power is restored, any residents that are isolated are asked to call the Caldwell County Emergency Command Center at 828-757-1424 to notify crews of their needs.
At least one house fire was reported in Collettsville, which is believed to have started from either a downed power line or a lightning strike.