Upstate, WNC receive heavy rain and strong wind from Zeta

Hurricane Center

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA/WFLA) — Remnants of Tropical Storm Zeta brought heavy rain with strong, gusty winds to the Upstate and western North Carolina Thursday.

The storm made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Cocodrie, Louisiana as a strong Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds fore moving into the New Orleans area and onto neighboring Mississippi.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm about an hour after reaching Alabama.

City of Greenville Public Works said they received reports of over 80 downed trees from 7 a.m. through 12 p.m.

Greenville officials said there were numerous power lines down that caused power outages and signal light outages on major roads.

“Citizens are asked to treat signals with an outage like a four-way stop,” according to a City of Greenville news release. “We are urging patience. Public Works has reported seeing drivers attempt to drive under downed trees. Often power lines are tangled in the trees. This is extremely dangerous. Treat all power lines as live.”

City of Greenville crews across the county are currently working to clear road and provide generators to restore signals. City officials said all garbage and waste collection is delayed, and they encourage residents to pull their trash cans away from the curb.

A total of 75 personnel from the city of Greenville was assigned to storm clean-up.

As of 3 p.m., City of Greenville sent us a storm report following the heavy wind and rain that came through the area:

By the numbers:

  • Over 80 downed tree calls between 7am and 12pm
  • 12 PW crews and 6 Parks crews were deployed to remove trees from roadways, parks and city right of way
  • 15 intersections that were down without power are back online with generators from Traffic Engineering
  • 5 Sweeper trucks sweeping up storm debris
  • Total of 75 personnel assigned to storm clean-up
  • 40 vehicles/equipment used for the effort

Other items of note:

  • Trash and recycling crews are back on their routes and will continue pick-up.  Any missed customers will be serviced tomorrow.
  • Crews are put on extended shifts to continue the clean-up effort.
  • PW will continue to work with Duke Power to remove the trees around power lines.
  • Boo in the Zoo is cancelled Thursday night. The Zoo will reopen Friday.

Anderson County Emergency Management officials said they have about 30-40 trees and a handful of power poles and lines down within the county.

Around noon, Anderson County Road and Bridges said they had 74 trees down. Road and Bridges crews also said the Townville area was the worst in terms of storm damage, and the northern part of the County as well. Anderson County Emergency Management said, they received 75 calls in multiple areas of the County, however, they said 15 of those calls were in the City of Anderson. Leaders said powerlines and trees were down sporadically.

All day, the sounds of chainsaws could be heard on Pope Drive in Anderson.

“Hoped out of bed, went to go check on my little girl and lucky she was fine and everything. The tree was right next to her window,” said Adam Chabek, homeowner.

Chabek said around 6:30 a.m., he woke up to what felt like an earthquake, and that’s when he discovered a massive tree on his roof. That tree nearly missed his baby’s room while she was sleeping.

“It fell right next to where her bedroom is. So if it would’ve been over about two more feet, it would’ve been in her bedroom,” Chabek said. “I’m extremely grateful. I know my wife is extremely grateful. I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened otherwise,” he added.

Just two doors down, a tree split in a half in Veronica Wynn’s yard.

“Well I was asleep and then the house started shaking, so I freaked out and it was like bang. So I ran out and a tree was on top of the house,” Wynn said.

A tree went through Wynn’s roof and nearly collapsed through her bedroom too.

“I thought I was in a tornado. I did, I was scared,” Wynn said. “It was really dark and the wind was blowing so I didn’t know if the storm was still wind. I didn’t know if other trees were going to come down,” she added.

Ben Jones worked to clean trees from yards like Wynn’s all day. He said at every site, it was a complete mess.

“Just dead oak limbs laying everywhere. Like this one, had a hole in the roof,” said Ben Jones, Owner of Arrowhead Arborist, LLC.

Although there’s a long road ahead as things get back to normal on this once quiet road, everyone is glad they’re alive and well.

“The little bit of damage we did get, I’m completely okay with….compared to a lot more that could’ve happened,” Chabek said.

Both of the homeowners said they’ve only been living in their homes since this Summer. Chabek said he will be getting his trees inspected in his yard before another storm like this occurs.

Jones said that’s exactly what everyone should do.

“I advise that they get trees expected. Usually it’s free for a tree guy, preferably an arborist,” Jones said. “Have them come out an inspect your trees to make sure you don’t have any loose or broken limbs,” he added.

Oconee County Emergency Management said trees and powerlines are down all over the county, and several roads have been shut down because of them. Oconee County offices will be closed until noon.

In Pumpkintown, our crews found several trees falling into road, including some falling on the same power line.

“There’s a lot of pine trees and stuff that border some of these highways in the backcountry,” Pickens County resident John Stringer said. “… and you just got to watch out because once the ground gets that saturated and the wind gets that high, it’s just going to lean right over.”

A Pumpkintown business owner who lost power Thursday morning was unable to open as customers waited outside.

“People come in and they want to eat, but you know I just can’t open when I have no power,” Bill Alexander, owner of the Pumpkintown General Store and Cafe, said. “Every time we have a bad storm here we lost power.”

POWER OUTAGES

As of 6 a.m., Duke Energy was reporting the following outages:

  • Greenville County: 38,026 customers
  • Spartanburg County: 9,912 customers
  • Pickens County: 12,144 customers
  • Oconee County: 5,509 customers
  • Anderson County: 5,234 customers
  • Rutherford County: 13,636 customers
  • Polk County: 7,082 customers
  • Henderson County: 6,457 customers
  • Transylvania County: 1,394 customers
  • Macon County: 2,240 customers
  • Buncombe County: 1,650 customers

Click here to view current Duke Energy outages.

As of 6 a.m., Broad River Electric was reporting 1,889 customers without power in Spartanburg County.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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