DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Tens of thousands of people in Durham lost power in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s severe weather, with downed trees and wires, as well as other damage — including roads closed — in the city.
A woman died when a tree fell on her SUV Tuesday afternoon and the widespread damage has caused Durham Public Schools to close on Wednesday.
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, there were more than 66,000 customers in Durham County without electricity, according to Duke Energy’s power outage map. At the same time, Wake County only had about 3,500 outages.
“Wind was going sideways and we saw the tree literally just start falling and it was crazy,” said Chrissy Murray, who was driving home when she saw a tree fall at the corner of Hillandale Road and Indian Trail.
Murray says what followed was a bright flash of light, what she assumes was a transformer blowing.
“I knew my house was right next door, so I was scared about that, you know, ‘oh my gosh,’ it was a little bit panicky. And then it was, is my neighbor okay?” Murray said.
Thankfully, she says no one was hurt in the incident.
The area around West Club Boulevard was one of the hardest hit by the storm, with neighborhoods in and around the road seeing several downed trees and wires.
In some instances, trees fell on homes, causing some damage.
A little farther away, one home’s pergola was swept up by the heavy wind, flipping it over fencing in the front yard.
“My neighbors were all outside watching, so I knew it probably was something,” said Abraham Rubert-Schewel.
Several roads across the city were closed in the storm’s immediate aftermath, with the city working throughout Tuesday evening to get as many back open as possible.
Interstate 40 west near the Streets of Southpoint was closed for about two hours after 32 cars were involved in various crashes in a short stretch of the highway as the storms hit around 5:40 p.m.
The storm-related outage also led Durham Public Schools to close for Wednesday.
Classes were also canceled Wednesday at Durham Tech Community College at the North Street campus. Durham Tech said all other campuses are operating normally. The College will make a decision later Wednesday afternoon regarding evening classes.