LINCOLNTON, N.C. -- Heavy storms hammered downtown Lincolnton Sunday afternoon, uprooting trees and taking power lines down with them.
A giant tree broke from its base and fell on the historic post office on Main Street, but didn’t appear to crush the roof.
"I got five text messages saying there was a tree on the post office," said postal carrier Mark Ludwig, who stopped by after dark to survey the damage. His postmaster told him the building was unsafe until it could be checked out in the morning.
Ludwig said postal employees will have to improvise.
“They’ll have a makeshift where we sort mail, and try to get first class and priority out of here,” said Ludwig.
A few blocks away, grand old trees fell dangerously close to – and sometimes on top of – grand old houses. Police dispatchers reported at least five streets blocked by trees.
One fell through the roof of a house on Oak Street while the owners were inside with their granddaughter. No one was hurt in that home or anywhere else in town, according to police.
“I heard a sound like a whistling, and I looked out and the trees were all blowing in one direction,” said the owners’ neighbor Teresa Atchley.
Then she heard a crash.
“I thought it was a tornado because this tree fell and two trees on their roof,” Atchley said, pointing. “Never saw anything like it.”
The National Weather Service said winds in excess of 60 mph are to blame for the downed trees and power lines.
Pike Electric crews helped Duke Energy crews repair broken poles and get the lights back on before the sun went down. Just after the storm, more than a thousand Duke Power customers had no electricity. By 9 p.m., that number was down to two.
Tree-trimming and electric crews continued to drive up and down Main Street well past 11 p.m. Teresa Atchley is glad it wasn’t worse.
“We’re just thankful everyone’s okay, and we appreciate everyone in the neighborhood coming by to check,” she said with a smile.