HAMLET — As a thunderstorm made its way through Richmond County Friday afternoon, different areas of the county were affected but none more than a house on Freeman Mill Road.
Joni O’Neal said she heard a loud bang, walked out onto her porch and noticed that the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. She then looked to her right to see a tree had fallen onto her neighbor’s house and through the roof.
O’Neal wondered if a small tornado had touched down in the area because a trampoline ended up in a tree across the street from her. No one else in the neighborhood knew who it belonged to or where it came from.
That wasn’t the only trampoline to take flight Friday as Julia Nickel in Cordova saw the same thing happen in her yard.
“The trampoline was picked up several times and finally set about 15-20 feet away from the original spot,” she said, adding there were “several big limbs down” and they “took the power line down right beside the house.”
In another bizarre weather moment, Nickel also said her boyfriend’s uncle’s grain bin had been in its usual spot for close to 40 years and never moved until Friday. It was partially leaning over on a light pole, she said, but after a loud crashing sound, came back up right.
On 5th Street Safie in East Rockingham, Deputy Fire Chief Bill Bayless said lightning struck the top of a tree that was rotten down the middle. With the help of the North Carolina Forest Service, they were able to cut it down without further damage.
Donna Wright, director of Richmond County Emergency Services, said aside from the Hamlet home, she wasn’t aware of any other major storm damage.
Anson County Emergency Services Director Rodney Diggs said Friday afternoon there were multiple trees down in Wadesboro following strong storms that swept through the area, including one that fell through a building and sent a man to a Charlotte hospital with a head injury. While a lot of the town was still without power around 4:30 p.m., Diggs said it was starting to be restored.
An hour earlier, Pee Dee Electric reported a total of 197 power outages in Richmond County, with Duke Energy reporting 29. By 6:30 p.m., however, those numbers were down to three and nine, respectively.
Others looked at the storm in a different way, such as Stephanie Danielle Wildes, who used the opportunity to capture some photos with her cellphone.
“I was sitting in the old Winn-Dixie parking lot during the storm,” she said. “The storm moved in fast, with big gusts of wind, loud thunder and bright lightening. The lightening cracked the sky and the thunder shook the ground. It was an amazing feat to watch. I was ecstatic to have gotten some lightening shots.”
According to the National Weather Service, showers and thunderstorms are expected after 2 p.m. on Saturday with winds between five and seven miles per hour and chance of precipitation at 60 percent.
Chances of rain and thunderstorms are expected to last through the weekend and into next week.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.