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Storm remnants bring downed trees, strong winds to Winston-Salem
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Storm remnants bring downed trees, strong winds to Winston-Salem

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Tropical Storm Zeta moved quickly over North Carolina Thursday, toppling trees and causing power outages as well as flash flooding in some areas.

No injuries or deaths were reported in the state from the storm, authorities said. The storm was blamed for six deaths in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

Three people were rescued from rising water in Surry County, according to the National Weather Service.

In Winston-Salem, the driver of a pickup on Robinhood Road was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after a tree fell onto the truck as it traveled along Robinhood Road near the interchange with Silas Creek Parkway, authorities said.

The driver was not seriously injured, authorities said, but it took city firefighters a while to get the driver out of the truck.

Elsewhere in the city, a tree fell on Salem Parkway East near its exit to Lowery Street, forcing authorities to close both lanes of the highway for several hours, said Pat Ivey, a division engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Wake Forest University canceled its Thursday classes because of the storm.

During the peak hours as the storm passed through Winston-Salem, public-safety communicators received more than 500 911 calls, said Julie Koppang, a public-safety communications supervisor.

City residents reported trees down, especially on power lines and roads as well as outages that turned off traffic lights throughout Winston-Salem, Koppang said.

The weather service reported gusts of 47 mph in Winston-Salem, with the wind tossing around loose objects and scattering leaves and other debris into the roads and streets.

In downtown Winston-Salem, strong winds toppled part of a tall chain-link construction fence along Fourth Street.

Falling trees temporarily blocked U.S. 421 South near Lewisville-Clemmons Road. Meanwhile, emergency dispatchers reported that trees blocked roads, downed trees and power lines throughout Forsyth County.

Authorities were called out to deal with live power lines and transformers that caught on fire. Falling trees damaged some houses.

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The storm knocked out power at two of Forsyth County’s 17 early-voting sites, affecting Winston First Assembly of God and Harper Hill Commons.

Voting was not interrupted at either site, since the voting machines operate on batteries.

The storm produced ½ inch of rain in Winston-Salem and 0.63 inches of rain in Greensboro, said Andrew Kren, a weather-service meteorologist in Raleigh.

Zeta brought 1½ to 4 inches of rain in Northwest North Carolina, said Robert Beasley, a weather-service meteorologist in Blacksburg, Va.

Flash flooding happened in Alleghany, Surry, Wilkes and Ashe counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The Yadkin River overran its banks in Elkin and Wilkesboro, and the Ararat River flooded areas in the Ararat community in Surry County, the weather service said.

The Watauga River flooded near the Sugar Grove community in western Watauga County, the weather service said.

The storm knocked down trees, toppling power lines in Forsyth, Davidson, Stokes, Yadkin, and Wilkes counties.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, there were 287,613 Duke Energy customers without power in the Carolinas, according to the company’s website.

In North Carolina, 195,104 Duke Energy customers were without electricity. In South Carolina, 92,509 Duke Energy customers had no power.

There were 76,760 outages among Duke Energy customers in the Triad and its surrounding counties of Davidson, Davie, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin, the company’s website said.

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. reported that 791 of its customers in Ashe, Watauga and Alleghany counties lost power Thursday because of the storm. Those customers’ electricity was restored later on Thursday night.

Elsewhere in the South, millions of people were without power after Hurricane Zeta slammed into Louisiana and made a beeline across the region, leaving shattered buildings, thousands of downed trees and fresh anguish over a record-setting hurricane season.

From the bayous of the Gulf Coast to Atlanta and beyond, Southerners used to dealing with dangerous weather were left to pick up the pieces once again, just days ahead of an election in which early voting continued despite the storm.

In Atlanta and New Orleans, drivers dodged trees in roads and navigated intersections without traffic signals.

As many as 2.6 million homes and businesses lost power across seven states, but the lights were coming back on slowly. The sun came out and temperatures cooled, but trees were still swaying as the storm’s remnants blew through.

The storm buffeted North Carolina and southeastern Virginia with gusty winds, but it was moving along at 53 mph, meaning no single place was blasted too long.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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