Storm brings heavy rain, lightning strikes to area
The record-breaking heatwave was broken this morning when thunderstorms rolled into Lincoln County, deluging areas from west Lincoln to Denver. Firefighters were kept busy answering calls including one to a structure on Webbs Chapel United Methodist Church about 1:30 p.m.
Denver Fire Department reported smoke at the building, but no visible flames, and discovered that the steeple had been struck by lightning. Many of the ceiling tiles in the sanctuary were knocked to the ground by the lightning blast, and some damage was reported to electrical systems as well.
Units from the Sherrills Ford and Pumpkin Center fire departments assisted, but were turned back when Denver said it had the situation under control. No further information was available.
Parts of the county are under a flood warning until later this afternoon, and there were numerous reports of motor vehicle accidents including a vehicle overturning at the new Highway 150/16 Bypass.
Flooding was reported in some areas of Lincolnton.
A Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy escaped injury when his patrol car hydroplaned and skidded out of control into the median of Highway 321 during a morning rain storm.
Deputy Robert Milton was traveling four-lane Highway 321 southbound around 10:30 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle just inside Catawba County. The patrol car crashed into the steel cable barrier preventing it from sliding into oncoming traffic.
Deputy Milton was not injured but the patrol car sustained heavy damage. The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.
Officer Milton is a former resource officer at East Lincoln High School.