HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - HIgh winds from Thursday's severe storm system knocked down several power lines and telephone poles on Whitesburg Drive just north of the intersection of Lily Flagg Road.
One of Huntsville's busiest thoroughfares was shut down for several years while utility crews tried to clear out the down poles, many of them splintered like toothpicks.
Eyewitnesses told WHNT News 19 that the furious winds came suddenly and fast, knocking out power and giving one motorist a big scare. Rescue crews had to pull a woman from her car after live wires fell on the vehicle. Charles Snipes saw it all while working at the nearby Exxon gas station.
"Me and one of my buddies had to physically hold the doors shut because they were being pulled open," said Snipes. "There was actually a lady trapped in her car under some live wires. It took them about 15 minutes to get her out of her car...don't know if it was a small tornado or straight line winds. Don't know, but it was just a heavy mess."
Officials from the National Weather Service were on hand to survey the damage shortly after the storm hit. Forecaster Kris White told WHNT News 19 it was too early to say for sure, but said high winds were the likely culprit for the downed poles.
"We'll have to do some further assessments to figure out what happened here," said White. "When you start seeing power poles and lines down, that's certainly an indication of severe winds, winds at least 60 miles per hour or greater."
The section of Whitesburg just north of Lily Flagg was shut down for several hours. Officials said there were no injuries in the immediate area.