RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Franklin County man died and more than 100,000 customers in the Triangle were without power at the height of damage Friday night after severe storms moved through the area on Friday afternoon and evening.
Wake County was hit the hardest with over 35,000 power outages as of Saturday morning. By 6 p.m. Saturday, Wake County still had about 9,000 outages and Durham County had about 1,000 customers still without power, Duke Energy reported.
The outages in Wake County were down to about 4,000 by 11 p.m. Saturday with several dozen in surrounding counties.
Just after the storms hit, the National Weather Service said there were extensive trees down and tens of thousands of power outages reported — mainly across southern Wake County.
In Franklin County, a 25-year-old man died when he was hit by a falling tree in a neighborhood early Friday evening, according to Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Terry Wright.
The incident happened when the man was outside around 6:30 p.m. in a mobile home community at 8 Cleghorns One Drive, which is just off U.S. 1 just northeast of Youngsville, according to the National Weather Service citing Franklin County emergency management officials.
The damage from the storms in central North Carolina was widespread.
A lightning strike around 6:10 p.m. Friday triggered a brush fire along N.C. 98 near Carolina Ale House in Wake Forest, officials said. Crews were able to extinguish the fire and no one was injured.
Some of the hardest-hit locations in Wake County include Fuquay-Varina, Garner, and Apex area, the weather service reported.
“We were working behind the cash register. I had the customers up there and then suddenly the winds just started blowing so hard,” described Wailied Haimed, the owner of Steve’s Mini Mart in Garner.
He said within a matter of minutes he saw a tree fall on W. Garner Road and land on powerlines. Haimed also said he will probably have to throw away all his frozen foods.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office reported trees down at Barber Bridge Road and Rock Service Station and also at the 300-block of Hardwood Ridge. Power lines are down at King Arthur Trail off Sir Lancelot.
Other roads closed include Willow Chase and the intersection of Friendship and Deer Path Roads, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said around 9:45 p.m. Friday.
Southbound Interstate 85 near Durham was closed for about a half-hour Friday evening as severe thunderstorms moved through the Triangle. The North Carolina Department of Transportation said a “road obstruction” closed the southbound lanes at mile marker 179 near East Club Boulevard.
The incident began at 6:50 p.m. Friday and the highway reopened at 7:20 p.m., the NCDOT said. It’s unclear what was blocking the highway.
Meanwhile, Duke Energy as of 7:20 p.m. Friday reported 88,000 power outages near Raleigh and 11,000 outages in Durham with 2,000 power outages in Hillsborough.
As of Saturday around 9:30 a.m., Duke Energy reported 35,869 power outages in Wake County and 3,928 outages in Durham County.
Across the Duke Energy grid at least 73,000 customers were without power Saturday morning. This is after roughly 200,000 customers were without power Friday evening following the storms.