One killed as storm blows through Orange, Durham

Mar. 12, 2014 @ 09:56 PM

Wind toppled a tree onto a man on Roper Lane on Wednesday night, killing him.

Jim Groves, Orange County Emergency Services director, said that the 55-year-old man was grilling on his back deck about 6:30 p.m. when the tree fell, killing him instantly.
“It was a very large tree,” Groves said. “It was about 30 feet from his house. There’s no way he could have expected that to happen.”
Trees already weakened by ice on ground still saturated from rain make for a dangerous combination, he said.
Bryan Ellis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said his office had received reports of downed trees, fallen power lines and bent power poles in the vicinity of Parkwood. Durham and Orange counties saw consistent wind speeds of about 50 mph, Ellis said, with gusts up to 65. The Chapel Hill airport posted a gust of 48 mph, he said.
Gusty winds were expected to continue overnight and into the day Thursday, abating to about 25-35 mph in the afternoon.
The area saw about ¼ inch of rain. It moved through quickly enough, Ellis said, that flooding shouldn’t be an issue.
After a couple of rather balmy, spring-like days, we’re supposed to see a high of 45 degrees on Thursday. The lows tonight? Back in the wintry 20s again.
Temperatures are expected to climb back toward more favorable territory for the weekend, Ellis said. Friday should see a high of 60; Saturday, 65.
“It should be getting better for the weekend,” he said.

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