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Elkin gets smacked by weekend storms

Some residents in Elkin are still feeling the effects of a string of storms that moved through the area Friday afternoon bringing high winds, hail, and damage along with it.

According to Surry County Emergency Management Director Eric Southern they received 99 emergency calls of 48 weather related incidents related to the storms that included calls from residents whose homes had been impacted by trees or limbs; there was only one hospitalization with minor injuries from a resident who was trapped under a tree in Elkin.

Monday morning at 10 a.m. Surry County declared a State of Emergency following “a severe storm, including damaging wind causing numerous trees and debris to be thrown into and fall onto roadways, vehicles, buildings, and residences.”

The declaration is for the whole county but notes Elkin as the area of most concern but is no cause for immediate concern. It states that there are no “restrictions of prohibitions” imposed at this time.

Southern clarified by email Monday afternoon that while some of the damage looked severe, there was no tornado, “It does look like a tornado came through the area but everything was caused by straight line winds only.”

Duke Energy was reporting the number of customers without power had fallen to an approximated 52. The forecast for the next forty-eight hours predicts overcast skies but no significant rain or storms which is good news for soaked grounds and tree roots that may have been weakened by the winds.

Storm reports came into the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, Va. starting around 4:30 p.m. Friday as the storm moved from West to East through Wilkes, Yadkin, and Surry Counties.

The National Weather service report shows at 4:31 p.m. the first report of severe weather was reported near Luffman Road where quarter size hail and heavy winds that blew the roof of a storage shed. Four minutes later Pleasant Hill was getting hit by heavy winds and it was the Arlington community to the south of Elkin who had trees fallen on power lines according to the utility provider.

By 4:45 p.m. the storm had arrived over Elkin and more reports of hail and fallen trees came in. The police, fire, rescue scanner was heard crackling throughout the afternoon as fire and rescue squads tried to get to a person trapped in a residence in Elkin. A tree was blocking the road that inhibited first responders who were working their way to the trapped victim while a dispatcher said she was going to stay on the phone with the person until they were reached.

Local reports of thunderstorms, high winds, and downed limbs continued to be registered by the National Weather Service until 5:25 p.m. when East Bend sent in the final reports of hail damage.

Photos on social media show downed limbs, creeks and rivers running high, and a general mess after the storm. Damage near Speedy Chef in Elkin led some to believe a twister may have hit.

Classes for students at Elkin City Schools were canceled Monday out of an abundance of caution. The school district felt with limbs and power lines down, and some families still without power, that students would be better served with a day at home.

For staff it was an optional workday. Currently Elkin City Schools have not released any word on the status of sports events Monday evening or classes Tuesday.

Dr. Myra Cox wrote, “As you know, several of our neighborhoods were heavily hit with storm damage on Friday afternoon. Staff and students have been impacted. Due to a significant number of downed trees and power lines, travel is hazardous. ECS will be closed tomorrow, May 1st, for all students and is an optional workday for teachers and 11- and 12-month staff.

“I am extremely grateful for all of the public utility workers, power company employees and tree service providers who began the task of clearing out trees and restoring power Friday night and who are STILL out there today working to help those affected by the storm resume some normalcy. Each one of them that I have spoken to over the weekend has been friendly, supportive and encouraging.

“On behalf of the ECS Board of Education and the ECS administrative team, take care and stay safe. If there is anything we can do to assist those in need, please do not hesitate to reach out to us,” Cox said.

Elkin City Schools only had one sporting event scheduled for today, the rescheduled varsity baseball game with South Stoke High that was postponed last week after the tragic auto accident that claimed the life of Stokes Early College High School student and South Stokes High baseball player Blake Hughes.

Elkin City Schools and Stokes High have confirmed Monday’s game will still be held as scheduled.



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