LAURINBURG — A storm that blew over Scotland County on Thursday afternoon briefly disrupted electricity to some and brought the area a healthy soaking of rain.
The storm also brought winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office, before moving to the east into Robeson County shortly after 5 p.m.
The high winds were responsible for breaking off a tree limb that caused several outages across Laurinburg, according to Robert Smith, the director of the city electric utility department.
Smith said the limb fell on a power line on King Street. He estimated that about 1,500 people were without power for about 20 minutes.
“The storm we had come through knocked a limb off a gum tree and it hit one of our main circuits,” Smith said. “We briefly lost power from King Street all the way up U.S. 401, which affected a lot of residents and businesses.”
Jim Willis, owner of Shirttails in downtown Laurinburg, said he briefly lost power at his business, but the lights remained on at other nearby shops.
“It it is funny how it works,” Willis said. “Our side of Main Street was dark, but the stores across the street were on.”
Willis added that the lights didn’t slow down the single customer in the store at the time.
“He wanted some stadium seats and was walking around like nothing had happened,” Willis said. “But when he wanted to use a credit card, we couldn’t because of the power so he had to pull out the cash.”
Laurinburg Police Chief Darwin “Duke” Williams said his department had not received any complaints related to the storm.
“We didn’t get many calls so the power must have gone out and came back on pretty quickly around town,” Williams said.
Late on Thursday, meteorologist Katie Dedeaux predicted that the county could see storms throughout the evening and into Friday morning. Saturday is expected to be partly sunny with highs in the upper 80s.
“There’s a cold front approaching from the west, but it’s going to be crossing the area for the overnight hours, so there still could be storms overnight,” she said. “There still could be some isolated to scattered storms in the overnight hours.”
An observation site at the Laurinburg/Maxton Airbase collected a half inch of rain during Thursday’s initial heavy storm.
“You’re looking at anywhere from half an inch to an inch of rain in a fairly short time,” said Dedaux.
Storms that included heavy rain and thunder also popped up across the area on Wednesday.
In Fayetteville, 16 soldiers were injured by a lightning strike Wednesday night at Fort Bragg. Officials said none of the injuries are considered life-threatening, but the soldiers were hospitalized overnight.
About 60 soldiers were participating in weapons training outdoors at the time of the storm, and exercises had just completed. As soon as the lightning strike occurred, the unit quickly moved to lower ground.