LUMBERTON – A wind advisory remains in effect until 3 p.m. today for Robeson County, according to the National Weather Service.
The NWS released a dangerous weather forecast on Monday, which put Robeson, Bladen, Columbus and Pender counties on a windy advisory. Brunswick, Marlboro, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, Williamsburg, Georgetown and central and northern Horry County in South Carolina were also subject to a wind advisory.
Warnings and watches
Robeson County was also among other counties subject to a tornado warning Monday morning, that warning has since expired without any reports of tornado damage.
A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect until 7:15 a.m. for Robeson County. A tornado watch was issued until 11 a.m. Monday for parts of the state’s southeast, according to a statement from the NWS issued via the CodeRED alert system.
Weather warnings indicate that the weather event has been observed, while weather watches indicate that the conditions are correct for the state’s weather event.
The southeastern region of North Carolina and the northeastern region of South Carolina are expected to see “westerly winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph,” according to the NWS. The strongest winds were to occur during the morning hours.
“After a lull, gusty northwest winds will develop this afternoon… Use extra caution when driving, especially if you are operating a high-end vehicle. Secure exterior objects, ”NWS forecasters said Monday morning.
Winds in a straight line
Steven Pfaff, a meteorologist in charge of coordinating warnings for the NWS, said based on the radar images that he suspects the reported damage was caused by straight-line winds.
“I am waiting for more information on whether or not I should investigate the storms there,” he said in a statement.
The investigation would involve sending a team from the NWS to investigate the damage and determine whether it was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds, he said.
“Either way, we would determine the length / width of the damage and the strength of the wind,” he wrote in a statement to the Robesonian.
“There have been reports of numerous trees having fallen from Darlington to Robeson, Columbus and Bladen counties. Where the strong storms passed weather stations they measured gusts of 60 mph, ”he said.
Winds are expected to “ease” later today, he said. The “strong northerly winds” would lower temperatures as the day progressed.
Temperatures were expected to get colder overnight “with lows in the mid to 1920s” in the Lumberton area, Pfaff said.
The tops of two exterior buildings were blown off by winds in a straight line on Sampson Road near Rowland, according to Stephanie Chavis, Robeson County emergency management director and fire marshal. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene.
“I have not received any information regarding damage to the houses,” said Chavis. “We asked someone to call a possible tornado.”
However, the NWS told Chavis the radar was showing straight-line winds, she said.
Chavis said she was woken up by the winds on Monday morning. Then she started communicating with others about the weather.
Robeson County public schools were operating as usual on Monday, according to PSRC communications director Gordon Burnette.
No state-maintained roads in Robeson County have been closed due to weather effects, according to Andrew Barksdale, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
However, flooding could occur “as more rain continues to hit the region,” he said.
The Lumberton Fire Department had not received a report of downed trees Monday morning, Fire Chief Chris West said. However, the city’s electric utility crews were working on “repairs to power lines in different areas of the city.”
Crews had gone out early in the morning to remove two trees from power lines on the city’s north side, leaving around 1,500 customers without power, according to Greg Prevatte, deputy director of the Lumberton Electric Utilities department. The power was cut at around 6:45 am and took about an hour and 15 minutes to recover.
“We had a few small limbs on a few lines,” Prevatte said.
A few customers have lost power in the eastern part of Lumberton due to limbs, he said.
He said teams were assessing the situation on Monday afternoon and keeping trucks loaded with equipment to intervene if necessary.
“If you have down lines, stay away from them,” he said.
Instead, report damaged lines to the electric utility by calling 910-671-3800.
Stay with robesonian.com as more details become available.
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