10/12/2018 6:02:00 AM Storm Over, Cooler Weekend Ahead
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
Unlike Florence, Michael didn't linger. The storm that roared ashore on the Florida panhandle Wednesday afternoon as a category 4 hurricane diminished to a tropical storm as it pushed across South Carolina and its heavy rains and winds were largely gone from our area by late Thursday afternoon, but the damage it did was considerable.
Hurricane Michael did terrible damage to Florida and Georgia, but while there was damage in areas of North and South Carolina, Michael was no Florence and certainly not a Hugo. Florence hung around and the deluge of flooding in eastern North Carolina isn't totally over yet. Hugo--many years ago--downed trees and power lines and left our area in a mess that took weeks to return to normal. Michael came, passed through, and left. But the storm took its toll of damages--closing many roads because of downed trees, knocking out power to homes and businesses, and causing flooding that also closed roads--especially north of Lincoln County--in Catawba and other counties further up the US321 corridor.
The damages in our area included a tree that fell on a house and car in Gastonia totally destroying both. That happened Thursday afternoon. In Lincoln County, a tree fell on a house early Thursday morning. In both cases, there were no injuries. Between those two incidents other trees fell damaging homes and buildings and blocking roads, but serious injuries were largely avoided.
There were some wrecks caused by the storm, but most were fender benders with no or or only minor injuries.
There was a Flash Flood Warning issued, but the flooding in Lincoln was limited and so far as we were able to learn, no roads were ever closed in Lincoln County because of it.
Catawba County got hit much harder than Lincoln--especially related to the flooding. The heavy rain forced closure of several roads Thursday afternoon:
NC10 at Holly Ridge Road
South D Ave at South D Ave. EXT, Maiden
Little Mountain Road in the 4100 block, Newton
NC16 at Anderson Mountain Road, Maiden
East Bandys Cross Road at Bandys High School bridge
Laney Road, Maiden (bridge)
Lincoln County Manager Kelly Atkins confirmed that three county buildings were closed Thursday afternoon because of power outages. Among them was the building adjacent to the Health Department where Helping Hands and the Veterans Service Office are located. The Health Department was able to stay open using a generator. That outage also affected the YMCA.
Atkins said several county buildings suffered leaks because of the storm. There were two leaks at the Lincoln Cultural Center (already present before the storm but perhaps made worse and certainly more obvious with the blowing rain) but the play "Smoke on the Mountain" was still performed Thursday night as planned. (Other performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 3 PM. The leaks, by the way, were not in the auditorium.)
Power outages also occurred in other areas. Love Memorial Elementary School will be closed for students Friday due to a power outage at the school. Love Menorial staff will operate on an optional teacher workday (at an alternate location).
Lincoln County Schools athletic events that had been scheduled for Thursday were postponed. Schools in Lincoln, Gaston and Cleveland counties had no classes for students and Gaston College made a decision Thursday morning to close at noon. By Friday, the weather will be sunny and mild and after the Lincoln County Schools decided to open two hours later than usual Friday morning--plus Love Memorial being closed because of the power outage-- there should be no other changes from regular schedules including those Friday night football games.
Now that the storm is over, for the first time it will actually feel like Fall. The morning low in Lincolnton Friday dropped to 50° and cooler weather is ahead. Here's the forecast:
Sunny, with a high near 72. North northwest wind 3 to 5 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 50. Little or no wind.
Sunny, with a high near 67. North wind 3 to 7 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 48. Calm wind.
Partly sunny, with a high near 66. Light and variable wind.
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