Threat of storms brings worries

Local rivers still swollen
Jun. 13, 2013 @ 08:10 AM

Caldwell County could stand some drying out, especially in flood-prone areas where rivers already are running high from last weekend's heavy rains. Road crews also were still working Wednesday to repair a few mud slides that happened Sunday evening.

"If we get some heavy rains tonight, we'll be in a world of hurt," Collettsville Fire and Rescue Capt. Larry Price said Wednesday.

There was a chance of thunderstorms Wednesday night and a slightly stronger chance today of strong thunderstorms from the afternoon into the evening, but the next few days are expected to be clear and dry, according to the National Weather Service forecast for the area. 

Weekend storms dropped almost 4½ inches of rain in Caldwell County. In the first 10 days of June, nearly 7 inches fell in the area, more than in any month so far in 2013.

Roger Hollins of the N.C. Department of Transportation said the Sunday storm caused three small mudslides along Yadkin River, Anthony Creek and Cottrell Hill roads. The last work to repair the damage was completed Wednesday.

Sunday also brought damaging winds to the Oak Hill area, where one man reported seeing what he thought was a tornado hit near Oak Hill School. Large trees lay twisted in front of the Oak Hill School, which also had damage to its roof and masonry. Other structures in Oak Hill and the Little River area were also damaged by strong winds.

But the National Weather Service determined that the damage was not caused by a tornado, weather service spokeswoman Lauren Visin said. It was the result of severe, straight-line winds of up to 65 mph.

Straight-line wind intensity can be as powerful as a tornado, but the damage will be pushed in one direction, while tornado damage becomes scattered in different directions because of the violent rotation of the winds in the tornado. Straight-line winds are common with thunderstorms, particularly in spring. They are caused by a column of rapidly descending rain and rain-cooled air beneath a thunderstorm, and when hitting the ground the wind speeds can reach 100 to 150 miles per hour, the weather service says.